Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Honda Sport Award

Lacrosse: Northwestern’s Izzy Scane wins 2024 Tewaaraton Award

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Qatar Foundation denies influencing NU decisions after Congressional hearing

Jacob Wendler/The Daily Northwestern
Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah) displays a check for $600 million to Northwestern from “Qatar-related sources.” The Qatar Foundation, which fully funds NU’S Doha campus, said it doesn’t attempt to influence University decisions after University President Michael Schill’s Thursday congressional hearing.

A day after Republican lawmakers grilled University President Michael Schill on Northwestern’s relationship with the Qatar Foundation, the state-led organization that fully funds NU’s Doha campus denied allegations that it attempts to influence University decisions.

Northwestern University in Qatar and NU’s relationship with the Qatari government were hot topics during Schill’s Thursday testimony on antisemitism in front of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. The University’s contract with the Qatar Foundation to operate NU-Q expires at the end of the 2027-28 school year.

“Qatar Foundation (QF) is not in the business of buying, or attempting to buy, influence in U.S. higher education institutions,” said Francisco Marmolejo, QF’s president of higher education, in a Friday statement.

He added that each of the six U.S. universities in Education City — the QF-funded complex in Doha that houses NU-Q — has a contract that specifically identifies how the costs of the campuses will be covered.

Rep. Burgess Owens (R-Utah) displayed a large check for $600 million written out for NU from “Qatar-related sources” at Thursday’s hearing, alleging that the University partners with a government that “harbors leaders of Hamas and is estimated to have given the terrorist organization of Hamas about $1.8 billion.”

QF clarified that it pays NU about $70 million each year, 90% of which goes to covering the costs of operating NU-Q, such as faculty salaries and student operations, according to the statement. The remaining 10% is sent to NU’s Evanston campus to cover “administration costs.”

Schill said at the hearing that he did not know the exact number that the University receives from QF each year but told Owens that “every dollar has gone to the operation of the campus or the management of the campus.”

The Daily reported earlier this week that NU receives a “management fee” of approximately $6 million each year from QF. Publicly-available contracts between QF and other U.S. universities show similar deals.

Schill told The Daily in March that he planned to visit Doha earlier this month and meet with NU-Q’s dean and QF officials to discuss the contract. He later postponed the visit to “focus on the unfolding challenges on the Evanston campus,” according to an email to NU-Q students from Dean Marwan Kraidy.

On Thursday, however, Schill said his role in the contract talks is limited.

“The decision with respect to the Qatar campus is ultimately the Board of Trustees’,” he said.

Marmolejo said QF is focused on “making Qatar a home for life-long learners.”

“Only a fraction of this investment has been directed toward the U.S., and the allegation that this money has somehow swayed the decision making of reputable institutions of the likes of NU has no basis in fact or logic,” he said.

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Twitter: @saullpink

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