Gov. Lee Introduces Legislation to Increase Transparency in Foreign Influences on College Campuses

Bill would require disclosure of foreign investment and prohibit Confucius Institutes
Tuesday, March 16, 2021 | 01:00pm

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee introduced legislation to require greater transparency for foreign investments on college and university campuses and prohibit the establishment of Confucius Institutes.

“Colleges and universities are a place for the robust debate of ideas – not a place for foreign governments to operate in the shadows,” said Gov. Lee. “After the federal government rolled back critical reporting requirements around Confucius Institutes, my administration is taking action to provide Tennessee taxpayers greater transparency in all foreign investment on our campuses. I thank university leadership for working with us to preserve the integrity of our state and national security.”

The Transparency in Foreign Investment Act is a key priority in Gov. Lee’s 2021 legislative package.

In order to provide taxpayers greater transparency in foreign influences and preserve the integrity of Tennessee’s higher education institutions, this legislation:

  • Prohibits Tennessee’s public colleges and universities from hosting Confucius Institutes, which have concerning ties to communist regimes.
  • Requires public institutions to disclose gifts and contracts from foreign sources and refuse any gift or contract that poses a credible national security threat.
  • Establishes a disclosure report that public institutions must submit to the Comptroller of the Treasury for public review.