To the editor:
For those Kansans concerned about the Chinese government’s brutal suppression of dissent in Tibet and elsewhere, Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway’s decision to stand in silent support of these actions is deeply distressing. With his Confucius Institute at the Edwards Campus serving as a public relations agent for this government, one would think that he would feel some obligation to show that there was a limit to his support. Unfortunately, unlike a certain animal that helped a Kansas girl after she reached Oz, Hemenway apparently cannot find the courage to act appropriately.
Where will this all end? The Chinese government is very pleased with the return it is getting from its investment in KU. Late last year, William Tsutsui, executive director of the Confucius Institute, was invited to go to Beijing to receive a performance award from the Chinese government for the work the KU Confucius Institute is doing on its behalf. This year he, Sheree Willis, associate director for programs, and Nancy Hope, associate director for education, are striving hard to receive another such award (reward) and have even begun using the KU Endowment Association to raise money to supplement Chinese government funds so that those funds can go further.
My question to Chancellor Hemenway is: Is this what KU is about? Should KU be working for an authoritarian oppressive regime and then be taking great pride in the expressions of gratitude it receives from that regime? I wonder what former KU chancellors would have said to faculty members who sought or accepted such awards.