Carleton to Move Off-Campus Study Seminar Out of China

Students in Carleton’s political economy seminar in Beijing will be moved out of China on Wednesday, April 30.

22 April 2003 Posted In:

A letter from Dean of the College Shelby Boardman:

As most of you are well aware, the SARS virus in Asia has led to escalating concern and progressively stronger reaction on the part of many governments in the region. The situation in China has reached the point that the College has decided to move the Beijing seminar out of China by April 29th or 30th. After lengthy conversations with program directors Roy Grow and Penny Prime, the College has determined that the current conditions in China preclude a fully satisfactory academic experience for the 35 students on the program. Those conditions include a significant shift in Chinese policy and procedures that deal with the SARS virus. While Professors Grow and Prime continue to believe that the risk of SARS infection remains very low, they now believe that their ability to manage the program and ensure the well-being of their students has been compromised by the Chinese bureaucracy and its response to controlling the virus.

The College and the program directors deeply regret the necessity of this decision. We understand that students, their families, and the directors themselves have planned for this program for several years. We all have worked overtime, especially Professors Grow and Prime, to make this program work in spite of rising challenges and conflicting information. Even as other study abroad programs in China withdrew their programs at the first or second alarm, we relied on a vast and reliable network of Chinese and U.S. colleagues and information from a wide range of sources to inform our decision to keep the students safe and in China. We will continue to monitor the situation daily and will be sure to notify you of any changes. As Professor Grow stated, “Ironically, it is not the SARS virus that damaged this program. It is the Chinese bureaucracy.”

Upon completion of the on-site portion of the program and subsequent assignments, students will earn a full term of Carleton credit. Several students, including the seniors who will be graduating and those who live in Northfield, will be returning to Northfield and Carleton. Over the next few days we will finalize the procedures for accommodating them. Details will be forthcoming.

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