Congress targets Harvard, Yale and top universities with China-linked endowments

A new bill from Republican Greg Murphy is pushing divestment from firms linked to rights abuses, security risks.

Congress first targeted U.S. universities’ Chinese state-backed Confucius Institutes, then their academic partnerships with China. Now, some in Congress are preparing to go after America’s top institutions of higher learning and their enormous endowments in potentially problematic Chinese companies.

Rep. Greg Murphy (R-N.C.) is drafting legislation — the Protecting Endowments from Our Adversaries Act — designed to cut U.S. university endowment investments that fund abusive or hostile Chinese entities. Murphy doesn’t yet have co-sponsors for the bill, but told POLITICO that he expects “a lot of interest from a lot of folks in both houses.”

On Thursday, Murphy sent a letter to the 15 private universities with the largest endowments — Harvard, Yale, Duke and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, among them — asking them to purge their investment portfolios of “entities that are supporting the imprisonment of Uyghur Muslims or aiding the Russian Federation’s horrific invasion of Ukraine.” Murphy also wants those schools to vet their endowment portfolios for any “adversarial entities” named on U.S. government sanction lists.

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