Texas A&M University will shut down its overseas campus in Qatar by 2028, citing the current political instability across the Middle East, it said Friday.
“The Board of Regents decided to reassess the university’s physical presence in Qatar in fall 2023 due to the heightened instability in the Middle East,” the statement noted. The university’s Regents deliberated on the matter with General (Ret.) Mark A. Welsh III — the university’s president — and other top administrators Thursday morning, according to the statement. By the afternoon, the Regents reportedly voted 7-1 to terminate the university’s agreement with the Qatar Foundation, a Qatari government-led donor organization.
“The Board has decided that the core mission of Texas A&M should be advanced primarily within Texas and the United States,” Board Chairman Bill Mahomes said, the statement noted. “By the middle of the 21st century, the university will not necessarily need a campus infrastructure 8,000 miles away to support education and research collaborations.”
Mahomes reportedly added that the university system and its affiliated agencies collaborate with about 30 other countries without running campuses there.
The Qatar Foundation slammed the university’s leadership, saying Friday that their decision “has been influenced by a disinformation campaign aimed at harming the interests of [the foundation].”
The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), an antisemitism watchdog, however, hailed the university Regents Friday for “their courageous and morally principled stance” and “commitment to academic integrity, ethical principles, and national security concerns,” an ISGAP statement noted. (RELATED: Texas A&M Professor Called Hamas A ‘Charity Organization’ And ‘Humanitarian Group,’ Students Claim: REPORT)
ISGAP had warned in January of “a potential threat to U.S national security stemming from the partnership,” according to the ISGAP statement. The warning followed the watchdog’s Nov. 2023 report alleging that Qatar awarded over 500 grants totaling more than $750 million to TAMUQ for scientific and nuclear research and development and that TAMUQ was working with Qatar on advanced weapons development.
“[T]here is no place in U.S. academia for billions of dollars coming from a state that supports and funds terror, and promotes and spreads the extremist Islamist ideology from the Muslim Brotherhood,” ISGAP Director Dr. Charles Asher Small said in the ISGAP statement.
Qatar, a close US ally, hosts the Hamas political office in Doha, and was involved in negotiating the release of some 100 Hamas-held hostages after Hamas‘s Oct. 7 2023 terror attack on Israel, the Washington Post reported. This link to Hamas exposed Qatar to bipartisan criticism in the US Congress, according to Reuters.
Studies and research are expected to continue at TAMUQ till the university’s agreement with the Qatar Foundation expires in 2028.