Commentary: Amidst ethics controversies, University of Cambridge releases principles on international engagement. When will U.S. universities do the same?

Sarah McLaughlin
Foundation for Individual Rights in Education

Excerpt: Last week, University of Cambridge Vice-Chancellor Stephen Toope announced the release of a set of principles intended to guide the institution’s international engagements. Notably, the principles state that “the freedom to teach, research, learn and publish without political or other interference, and free from pressures, threats and intimidation” is “central” to the university’s mission, including internationally.

The announcement came on the heels of media reports accusing directors at the Cambridge Centre for Chinese Management of having ties with state-linked Chinese tech company Huawei, and months after news broke that Cambridge was working on a £400m deal with the United Arab Emirates — which jailed a U.K. doctoral student on falsified spying charges in 2018. The implementation of the guidelines is worth watching both as Cambridge fields contentious questions about its international engagement decisions and as universities in the United States face similar challenges about their own expansions.