On February 8, 2024, the Texas A&M Board of Regents voted 7-1 to close its branch campus in Qatar.
Texas A&M Board Chairman Bill Mahomes said: "The Board has decided that the core mission of Texas A&M should be advanced primarily within Texas and the United States."
The process will take a few years, but Texas A&M's involvement with the Qatari campus will stop by 2028. Texas A&M attributes its decision to instability in the Middle East, prompted by Hamas's attacks in Israel in October 2023.
Texas A&M opened its branch campus in 2003 to offer engineering education in Qatar. It was one of six American branch campuses in the Gulf state. The university has reported receiving more than $600 million from Qatar. The National Association of Scholars (NAS), furthermore, found that the university system failed to report at least $100 million from Qatar.
The NAS is overjoyed with Texas A&M’s decision. Universities that work with Qatar expose themselves to values unbecoming of American institutions. Qatar has a history of censorship and maltreatment of women and, worse, serves as a haven for terrorist groups like Hamas. Already, the illiberal values promoted by Qatar have affected our universities. At Texas A&M, the Qatar Foundation made it difficult for Americans to access contracts by fighting against the disclosure of public records requests.
It’s time for other universities to follow Texas A&M’s lead: one down, five to go.
Learn more about Qatar’s influence at American universities: