US Dept. of Education investigating alleged relationship between the University of Alabama and Wuhan Institute of Virology in China


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The U.S. Department of Education is investigating an alleged partnership between the University of Alabama and the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China.

The department sent a letter to the University of Alabama this week, stating the university failed to report that relationship and requested records.

According to the Higher Education Act, institutions must fully report gifts or contracts from a foreign source to the U.S. government.

Now, the U.S. Department of Education wants the University of Alabama to turn over any records of the partnership from the last five years.

It is unclear why the University of Alabama is listed on the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s website as a partner. The University of North Texas and Harvard University are also on the partnership list.

The University of Alabama released the following statement to News 19 in response to the investigation:

“The UA reference on the Wuhan Institute of Virology website was brought to our attention earlier this year. At that time, we reviewed any possible related institutional records to determine the basis for the reference.

We found no ties or connection between UA and WIV, and no reason for UA to be listed on the website. 

University officials reached out to WVI to question the reference and requested the UA reference on the website be removed, but never received a response. We have relayed this information to the Department of Education.

The Department of Education tells News 19 they can’t comment because it is an open investigation.

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