Business as Usual at Fulbright University Vietnam

Do As We Say, Not As We Do

I was checking my LinkedIn feed and noticed a Fulbright University Vietnam (FUV) post about its new partnership with Columbia University. The phrase that jumped off the screen was Understand the Past, which I happen to take seriously. Thinking about the ill-fated appointment of self-confessed war criminal Bob Kerrey as chairman of the FUV board of trustees, I posted a comment, including a link to my July 2016 article Bob Kerrey and Fulbright University – What were they thinking?

Sadly, but not surprisingly, my prediction came true. My comment was removed within hours. Such rank hypocrisy brings to mind the expression, “a leopard never changes its spots.” While I assume FUV’s red, white, and blue minders would approve of such an action, what if the faculty and students knew?

Here’s the “after” version cleansed of my “objectionable” comment. Good job, FUV censors! I’m sure your benefactor from “the land of the free and the home of the brave” is proud of you. It is said that the truth will set you free, a sentiment that the FUV leadership has never taken to heart.

Bonus: Previous posts and articles about FUV. More to come as I dig deeper. The fat lady hasn’t sung yet!

Shalom (שלום), MAA

One thought on “Business as Usual at Fulbright University Vietnam

  1. Comments from LinkedIn post:

    Kinho Chan
    Founding Faculty at Fulbright University Vietnam

    Hi Mark, please accept my personal apologies. That behavior is certainly not consistent with how most faculty at Fulbright conduct our teaching and scholarship. We encourage students to express and listen to dissenting viewpoints respectfully. Together with students, we reflect on past mistakes and learn from them and strive to do better. Thanks for your continued interest in Fulbright University Vietnam and making sure we stay on the right track.

    My response(s):

    Thanks for your comments, Kinho. Nothing to apologize for. That was my assumption. One of the problems with FUV’s senior leadership is its “circle the wagons” mentality and knee jerk reaction to substantive criticism. I know it’s not realistic, based on my knowledge of history and current events, but it would be great if FUV could become a truly independent and international liberal arts university. Some skeptics view it as an instrument of US foreign policy and even a red, white, and blue Trojan horse in Vietnamese higher education. I remain an interested observer.

    Five years ago, I posted a comment on FUV’s Facebook page that was quickly deleted. I’ve been banned from posting ever since using that (personal) account. (I can still post with the other one.) It’s ironic that FUV and its minders criticize authoritarian regimes for their periodic crackdowns on dissent while doing the exact same thing themselves. Visions of “glass houses” and “stones” dance in my head. https://markashwill.com/2017/11/03/fulbright-university-vietnam-free-speech-do-as-we-say-not-as-we-do/

    Nicholas Hugh Bishop
    Lecturer at UT – Ho Chi Minh City University of Transport

    Good ethics comes from good thinking. Many so-called educational institutions here have bad people on their boards of directors. That is why we need a Ministry of Education and Training to supervise what these so-called educators can do. Also, we need people to come out and be critical. That is how good standards are forged. Good education is based on freedom of expression. Without that education cannot flourish. However, all freedom must be socially responsible freedom and that is why there are always constraints on what we can and should be able to do.

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