UCD President Andrew Deeks addresses the 11th Confucius Institute Conference in China in 2016, where he was presented with with the “Medal of the Individual Performance Excellence Award” for his work as chair of the UCD Confucius Institute
Via Irish Times:
Comments from University College Dublin (UCD) president Andrew Deeks, that concerns about a controversial Chinese institute on its campus were “misguided”, have been described as “worrying” by senior academics.
In a recent message to staff, Prof Deeks defended the hosting of a Chinese government-backed Confucius Institute by the south Dublin university.
Academics in UCD’s school of politics previously criticised the fact the institute was permitted to teach a class on Chinese politics to UCD students, given China’s human rights record.
UCD academics criticise president’s defence of Beijing-linked institute (irish Times)
Via UCD professor Diarmaid Ferriter:
What is worrying and disappointing is how far the president of University Cocllege Dublin, Andrew Deeks, went this week in disparaging understandable concerns by some of his colleagues about the Confucius Institute in UCD. In an email to staff he said: “The UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland is a credit to the University and to everyone involved, including the successive Irish governments that have supported it, and something the whole UCD community should be proud of.”
He went further, however, lacerating those who have dared to challenge the appropriateness of the CI’s agenda: “I have been disappointed by some of the misguided commentary about the UCD Confucius Institute and the UCD Institute for Chinese Studies which has appeared. I would like to remind colleagues of the UCD values of integrity, collegiality, engagement and diversity . . . I have been particularly disturbed by implicit suggestions that the political loyalties of some colleagues can be inferred from their ethnicity, given our ongoing campaign against racism.”
I have never heard or read criticism of any individual associated with the CI that is based on ethnicity. The concerns are not about specific staff members but academic freedom and independence.
Let us not forget that two years ago proposed changes to UCDs academic freedom policy to allow for “divergent approaches” to that freedom due to the desire to drum up business with China and other countries was withdrawn because it was robustly challenged by staff.
Diarmaid Ferriter: UCD Confucius Institute not above criticism (irish Times)