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Eli Friedman speaks on decision to suspend exchange program

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"As institutions that hold academic freedom to be a sacred principle, at a certain point we need to act on that." Eli Friedman, director of international programs for Cornell’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, explains the situation behind the ILR School suspending two exchange programs with Renmin University in China. The case centers on concerns that Renmin University had punished, surveilled or suppressed students who supported workers’ rights in a labor conflict involving workers trying to unionize at Jasic Technology in Shenzhen. Friedman pointed out that the specific engagement matters: "we are a labor school and this was a labor issue, and the state was saying you can no longer study this."

The best treatment of the decision to suspend the exchange programs is to be found in an early Inside Higher Ed article that focuses on the specific circumstances. 

A subsequent interview of Friedman by fellow EAP faculty Jessica Chen Weiss appears at the Washington Post's Monkey Cage blog

Coverage of the program suspension also appears at the Financial Times (the initial news article), the New York Times, and the Cornell Daily Sun