McMaster’s Confucius Institute is completing its work. Teaching has finished and the grading of assignments and examinations will be concluded shortly. The decision to close the Institute was made after concerns were raised with the University regarding the screening process used in China for the selection of teaching assistants. The process excluded certain classes of applicants, which is not consistent with the University’s values of equality and inclusivity, nor with McMaster’s Anti-Discrimination policy.
In particular, concerns were raised regarding the exclusion of practitioners of Falun Gong from the hiring process. Sonia Zhao, a former teaching assistant at McMaster’s Confucius Institute, brought a complaint against the University to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Her complaint, which alleged discrimination on the grounds of creed, proceeded to mediation and was resolved after discussions between Ms Zhao and the University.
McMaster gave official notice of the closure to its Chinese partners in December, 2012, naming a closure date of July 31, 2013. Following the decision of McMaster’s Chinese partners to withdraw the services of the teaching staff on March 21, the closure process was accelerated. Alternative arrangements were made to ensure that students enrolled in chinese language programs were able to complete their courses. The President held an information session for students on March 21, at which he discussed the concerns regarding the exclusion of certain classes of applicants that led to McMaster’s decision to close the Institute, as well as the University’s plans for the remainder of the term.