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On December 20, 2018, President Eric W. Kaler, Executive Vice President and Provost Karen Hanson, and Vice President for Research Christopher J. Cramer sent the following memo to all faculty and staff of the University of Minnesota. The letter concluded with Guidance for Reporting and Compliance Obligations when Engaging with Foreign Institutions and Scholars.

Memorandum: Reporting/compliance obligations regarding foreign institutions and scholars

The University of Minnesota System is a welcoming, diverse community dedicated to the mission of teaching and learning, research and discovery, and public engagement—both within the United States and around the world. In that context, you may be aware that Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), published an August 20 letter to the scientific community expressing concerns about potential threats to the integrity of U.S. government-sponsored biomedical research. More recently, members of Congress and officials in other federal agencies have begun a searching look at the relationships that academia, business, and related organizations have with other national governments and foreign entities.

International students and scholars enrich all aspects of our academic enterprise; and international exchange, collaboration, and travel are key to our staying at the leading edge of knowledge. Indeed, Regents Policy: International Education, Research and Outreach directs: “The University has a responsibility to ensure, to the extent possible, respectful and ethical engagement with people, places, and ideas around the globe.” The recent federal concerns noted above prompt us to recall that this responsibility also requires that we work together to ensure that our collaborations and connections are not compromised by breaches of regulatory, policy, or ethical standards.

A Reminder of Our Reporting and Compliance Obligations

With this new attention to the complex intersection of foreign affairs, national security, scientific innovation, and academic freedom, we felt this to be a good opportunity to emphasize the need to take our reporting and compliance obligations seriously as we engage globally.

What follows is a quick guide to faculty, investigators and staffs major responsibilities related to foreign entities, personnel, and travel. The University has a wealth of resources available to assist you in the topics listed, and we encourage you to reach out to identified individual contacts if you have questions.

Why Compliance Is Important

As a forward-thinking and outwardly looking community of scholars, we need to continue to welcome, engage, and respect international students, employees, and visitors. When we look toward our research community, we by and large see a culture of integrity and diligence, and we thank you for your attention to the relevant rules and processes we have in place. Your compliance allows us to protect and support all of our students, faculty, and staff, as well as the University as an institution.

If you have any general questions or thoughts about this reminder, please contact Associate Vice President Pamela Webb or Export Controls and International Programs Officer Patrick Briscoe.