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Concern surrounds DSU Confucius Institute

People voiced concerns over Dickinson State University implementing a Confucius Institute during a forum at the Student Center Friday afternoon. Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Jon Brudvig said though DSU has been awarded a Confucius Inst...

Awards
From left Dr. Jon Brudvig and Hal Haynes award Deryl Matthew and Eric Arnold certificates for attending a recent trip to China during a Confucius Institute forum at the Dickinson State University Student Center Friday afternoon.
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People voiced concerns over Dickinson State University implementing a Confucius Institute during a forum at the Student Center Friday afternoon.

Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Jon Brudvig said though DSU has been awarded a Confucius Institute, "it's not a done deal."

"We have one year to implement that," he said. "If we decide this is not for us, DSU gives six months notice and we can opt out."

The institutions promote Chinese language and culture.

"In all of our agreements, this is an academic partnership and they understand the basis of American higher education -- the exchange of ideas and the freedom of expression," Vice President for Student Development Hal Haynes said. "Ideology has nothing to do with this."

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Some fear the institute will take students away from other foreign language programs.

"We're not going to compromise our commitment for the established programs already in place," Haynes said.

It could be a good addition to language, liberal arts and business teachings, he said.

"I think it's totally for the students," said Student Senate President Daryl Matthew said. "All we have right now is German and Spanish. If I don't want to take those classes, I should be able to take another class."

Communications Instructor Eric Grabowsky wonders how the institute will affect other areas.

"If we were to have forums and speakers about independent Taiwan, human rights, the underground Christian church in China, these sorts of things that the Confucius Institute certainly could be a participant, but that would not give us a certain tentativeness to stay away from those conversations that are really important," Grabowsky said.

DSU Student Sen. Jennifer Lundemo said some students are uncomfortable with the institutes.

"I've actually come in contact with a lot of domestic students who are a little more frazzled about this type of idea because they feel as if they're being pushed out of the institution," Lundemo said.

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Professor of Biology Dr. Lynn Burgess is concerned about funding.

"I've been asked all semester to cut courses and cut adjuncts, risk accreditations to my program so we can add Chinese folk dancing that you don't even know anybody wants?" Burgess asked.

Many costs are paid for by Chinese partners.

"Right now that money has been reallocated. There's been no cuts to any academic programs," Brudvig said.

The goal is to get the institute to be self sustaining.

Lecturer of Communications Margaret Marcusen said the institute could help faculty understand the culture of the Chinese students.

Others felt more diversified international programs and students need be implemented, rather than concentrating on China.

Related Topics: DICKINSON STATE UNIVERSITY
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