The Trump administration could pull funds from university programs supporting Islam.
The University of North Carolina and Duke University surpassed a deadline by the Trump administration’s demands to improve their jointly-run Middle East studies curriculum after schools misused federal funds. Advanced anti-Israel bias unfairly promotes the “positive aspects of Islam” while virtually ignoring Christianity and Judaism,” CBN reported Sept. 23.
The deadline for revision to the curriculum was Sept. 22. The Department of Education sent the letter in August threatening to decrease funding.
The current programs favor Islam more other religions.
“The Duke-UNC CMES appears to lack balance as it offers very few if any, programs focused on the historic discrimination faced by, and current circumstances of, religious minorities in the Middle East, including Christians, Jews, Baha’is, Yadizis, Kurds, Druze, and others.”
The letter continued. “Your activities for elementary and secondary students and teachers, there is a considerable emphasis placed on the understanding the positive aspects of Islam, while there is an absolute absence of any similar focus on the positive aspects of Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion or belief system in the Middle East.”
The Education Department also criticized the lack of balance “perspectives is troubling and strongly suggests that Duke-UNC CMES is not meeting the legal requirement that National Resource Centers provide a full understanding of the areas, regions or countries” in which the modern foreign language taught is commonly used.”
UNC-Chapel Hill spokesperson said the Consortium deeply values its “partnership with the Department of Education and has always been strongly committed to complying with the purposes and requirements of the Title VI program. In keeping with the spirit of this partnership, the Consortium is committed to working with the Department to provide more information about its programs.”
The program received $235,000 in grants in 2018, according to published reports, and may not be eligible for Title VI funding. The administration demands listings must be revised and activities reworked if they are to receive grant money.
The letter emphasized how Title VI funding works.
“The Secretary of Education may make Title VI grants to institutions of higher education or consortia of such institutions only for establishing, strengthening, and operating comprehensive foreign language and area or international studies centers and programs, and of establishing, strengthening, and operating a diverse network of undergraduate foreign language and area or international studies centers and programs.”
There has been no update on the status of funding to date.