In an all-campus email sent this morning, President Michael Roth ’78 announced that plans for a campus in China have been canceled due to differences in goals with those who proposed the partnership and issues of academic freedom.
The decision appears recent as as the town hall meeting to discuss the China campus with the wider Wesleyan community, originally set for October 30th, has been cancelled.
The email reads as follows:
I have just returned from a trip to Asia, where I enjoyed stimulating conversations with Wesleyan alumni, parents, prospective students and others in Seoul, Taiwan and Beijing. This part of the world has been on the minds of many here in Middletown recently given the news that Wesleyan had been invited to explore the possibility of opening a campus in China. However, after meeting with those involved in the potential joint venture during my trip, I can now report that we have decided not to look into this opportunity any further.
As I wrote on my blog earlier this month, in considering this possible campus in China, we needed to be sure that the academic work would be in line with the distinctive pragmatic liberal education at the core of Wesleyan’s mission. Further conversations with those who proposed the partnership have made it clear that our respective goals could not be sufficiently aligned—not to mention the questions we had around issues of academic freedom and the implications for our home campus.
While we will not move forward with this particular project, we remain interested in exploring collaborations in accordance with our Beyond 2020 strategic plan. Since there is no decision imminent about any partnerships, we will no longer hold the scheduled town halls on October 30. Instead, we will use upcoming WSA, faculty, and all-staff meetings for broader discussions about the University’s future plans.
Michael S. Roth