The U.S. Department of Education recently questioned the legitimacy and value of the Duke-UNC Consortium for Middle East Studies, particularly around its selection of speakers, courses and programs, and its commitment to language training. Since the Consortium is based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is responsible for administering the federal grant that supports the Consortium, UNC has formally responded to the Department of Education’s questions on our behalf.
Because this situation has heightened concern about possible intrusions into academic freedom and curriculum that are solely the responsibility of the Duke faculty, we want to be very clear: no outside entity will determine what Duke faculty will teach, how they teach it, what they choose to research or write about, or who can speak on our campus. Government agencies can and do choose what they will support with public funds; if Duke accepts this funding, then we have an obligation to understand and abide by the applicable legal guidelines for its use.
Be assured that we will continue to be vigilant in protecting and advancing academic freedom at Duke.
Vincent E. Price