The last year or two for Texas A&M has been a rough one as far as public relations go. Numerous ties have been found between the university and Communist China, plus there has been multiple Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion debacles, which have been discussed at length already. But A&M has new, even more concerning public relations battles to fight again.
A global antisemitism watchdog group, The Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy (ISGAP), recently released a study arguing that Texas A&M's relationship with Qatar, and their presence there with a Texas A&M-Qatar campus, could be an issue. Their study argues that the partnership might be making advanced nuclear technology and weapons manufacturing capabilities available to entities hostile to the United States.
Matt Stringer of The Texan, who played a role in exposing the connection, says there are two things that make this a big issue.
"A&M's unique access to advanced nuclear reactor technology...and TAMUQ has a partnership with a defense contractor that manufactures weapons," he says. "They say through that partnership...general weapons related stuff could be made available to Qatar's allies."
That is a big deal, considering Qatar is allies with people that the United States does not necessarily like. In fact, Qatar has been used as a third-party mediator of sorts to communicate with Hamas, as the war in the Middle East continues.
The report from ISGAP says they believe Qatar also has ties to Iran and supports other radical Islamist organizations in Egypt and Afghanistan. It also says Qatar funded the partnership with an over $1 billion investment, which included getting control over all intellectual property as a result of the school's research.
Meanwhile, Texas A&M's new president Mark Welsh vehemently denies any of the allegations.
"He had a fiery rebuttal...saying that the report was based on false information. He said the TAMUQ campus is focused on petroleum engineering related education...and that the relationship focused on that makes sense for the school," he says. "He also said the campus does not offer nuclear engineering courses and does not have access to the technology and study materials that are here in the US."
What is somewhat humorous, and interesting, is that New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez was recently indicted, and accused of being a foreign agent for Qatar while receiving millions of dollars.
Deer Park's own Texas state representative Briscoe Cain says he plans to file legislation now to end programs that could make the technology information available to terrorists. Legislation seems to be the only next step to take.
"Right now, it is just policy makers looking at facts raised by both sides, deciding who they believe, and what action they believe is necessary," says Stringer.
In their report, ISGAP proposed a list of eleven reforms based on their findings. Included in that was the closure of the Texas A&M-Qatar campus, prohibition of further Qatari funding of American universities, and enhanced foreign funding disclosure requirements.