WKU to Close Confucius Institute

Apr 22, 2019

Credit WKU

Western Kentucky University is closing a program on campus that promotes Chinese language and culture. 

In an email to faculty and staff on Monday, WKU President Timothy Caboni announced the school is terminating its agreement with the Confucius Institute. 

The institute came to WKU in 2010 and helps place Chinese language teachers in local K-through-12 schools, while also serving as a hub for teacher training and curriculum development.

“Though activities will phase out over the next several weeks, we will continue our dialogue with key partners to work toward a solution that allows WKU to continue our programming,” Dr. Caboni said. “We hope to strengthen, deepen and broaden our relationships with partner institutions in China throughout this process.”

Federal defense spending legislation passed in 2018 prohibits institutions from hosting Confucius Institutes if they also receive U.S. Department of Defense funding for Chinese language programs. 

Dr. Caboni said the school was denied a waiver that would have allowed it to operate its Confucius Institute while also maintaining the school’s Chinese Flagship Program. 

The decision impacts two full-time employees and six graduate students.  However, those students will have the opportunity to complete their degrees. 

University Spokesman Bob Skipper said no decisions have been made on what will be done with the building that houses the Confucius Institute.

A news release from WKU says at least six other universities with Chinese Flgship Programs have closed their Confucius Institutes, including Indiana University.