A $30 million donation to Yale Law from an Alibaba executive is causing an uproar.
Law.com reports that the donation, given to the law school in 2016, is spurring a U.S. Department of Education investigation into both Yale and Harvard’s disclosure of contracts and donations from foreign entities.
“This is about transparency,” U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos says in an announcement regarding the investigations. “If colleges and universities are accepting foreign money and gifts, their students, donors, and taxpayers deserve to know how much and from whom. Moreover, it’s what the law requires. Unfortunately, the more we dig, the more we find that too many are underreporting or not reporting at all.”
Yale has released a statement in response to the investigation confirming that it failed to disclose foreign funding from 2014 to 2017. The reason? Oversight.
“When Yale became aware of this oversight last year, we moved as quickly as possible to address it: in November 2019, Yale submitted to the Education Department all of the required reporting of foreign funding for the missing years,” the law schools states in its statement. “Yale believes its reporting is now current and complete. The Education Department’s Feb. 11 notice asks Yale to provide further information about such funding.”
In 1999, Yale Law launched its China Center. However, in 2016, that center was rebranded following a $30 million donation from Alibaba executive Joseph Tsai.
The university affirms that it is following the situation closely and working with the DOE throughout the investigation.
“Yale takes very seriously the importance of ensuring that funding from foreign sources does not in any way compromise American interests, and it respects the Education Department’s requirements about reporting of such funding,” it says in the statement.