After receiving a lashing from President Trump at Tuesday's White House briefing, Harvard University announced Wednesday it will reject $9 million it received in Wuhan coronavirus relief. The taxpayer funding is part of the CARES Act, which was passed to get emergency funding to the most economically vulnerable. Harvard has a $40 billion endowment.
"We have previously said that Harvard, like other institutions, will face significant financial challenges due to the pandemic and economic crisis it has caused. We are also concerned however, that the intense focus by politicians and others on Harvard in connection with this program may undermine participation in a relief effort that Congress created and the President signed into law for the purpose of helping students and institutions whose financial challenges in the coming months may be most severe," Harvard spokesperson Jason Newton released in a statement.
"As a result of this, and the evolving guidance being issued around use of the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, Harvard has decided not to seek or accept the funds allocated to it by statute," he continued.
Given where the virus originated, the funding was especially egregious. In January, Harvard's top chemist, Charles Lieber, was arrested and indicted by the Department of Justice for secretly working for a Chinese Communist Party program based in Wuhan.
"Unbeknownst to Harvard University beginning in 2011, Lieber became a 'Strategic Scientist' at Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) in China and was a contractual participant in China's Thousand Talents Plan from in or about 2012 to 2017. China's Thousand Talents Plan is one of the most prominent Chinese Talent recruit plans that are designed to attract, recruit, and cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China's scientific development, economic prosperity and national security," the Department of Justice released on January 28, 2020.
At the time, two Chinese nationals connected to Leiber were also arrested and charged.