The University of Southern Maine is closing a program that gets funding from the Chinese government and provides Mandarin Chinese language classes and other cultural programs on campus, officials said.

The university remains dedicated to “person-to-person exchanges, enhancing global understanding, and promoting cross-cultural learning” but that too few students were utilizing the Confucius Institute, said Marc Glass, director of public affairs at USM.

“While our relationship with Confucius Institute enhanced our language curriculum, we found that it reached too few students to be sustainable,” Glass said in a statement.

The announcement came against a backdrop of increased scrutiny after the Trump administration encouraged colleges last fall to rethink their ties to the Confucius Institute. The program gives China a foothold on U.S. soil and poses a threat to free speech, the administration said.

Tufts University announced it was closing its Confucius Institute last month after months of protests from opponents of the Chinese government, including the Tibetan Association of Boston.

There was no immediate comment from the Confucius Institute. The program will draw to a close on June 10, Glass said.


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