Texas A&M University’s System Board of Regents voted Thursday to begin shutting down the Qatar campus.
Regents voted 7-1 to begin the process of closing the Middle Eastern campus, which will take four years.
“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. “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.”
Since 2003, Texas A&M has operated a branch in the Middle Eastern country of Qatar that was set up through an agreement between Texas A&M and the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development, which has close links to the Qatar royal family.
The branch came into question earlier this year when the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP) produced a report accusing A&M of allowing Qatar ownership of “more than 500 research projects at Texas A&M, some of which are in highly sensitive fields such as nuclear science, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, biotech robotics, and weapons development.”
According to the press release, “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. Thursday morning, Regents discussed the topic with [A&M President] Welsh and other top administrators in executive session. In the afternoon’s public session, Regent Mike Hernandez made a motion to terminate the agreement with the Qatar Foundation. The motion was seconded by Regent Randy Brooks and passed on a 7-1 vote. Regent Michael Plank dissented.”
Texas A&M did not immediately respond to Texas Scorecard‘s request for comment as to whether national security concerns from ISGAP’s report played a role in closing the campus.