US government criticises Middle East studies programme

The United States Department of Education, in a strongly written letter published in the Federal Register, accused the Consortium for Middle East Studies (CMES), a joint programme of Duke University and the University of North Carolina, of misusing federal funding, reports Martin Levine for NonProfit Quarterly.

The issue from the department’s perspective was not fraud or managerial malfeasance but that CMES’s offerings discriminated against some religious minorities. For some, this was just an issue of course planning and detail; for others, it’s part of a larger effort to quash a disliked viewpoint.

The funding in question was allocated under Title VI of the Higher Education Act, which provides funding to establish “undergraduate foreign language and area or international studies centres and programs”. The Education Department saw the curriculum at CMES as too focused on Islam to the detriment of other ethnic groups.
Full report on the NonProfit Quarterly site