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OU declares 'high-risk' organizations unsafe to affiliate with in research

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An OU flag in front of the Bizzell Memorial Library on July 8.

OU announced Oct. 12 a list of institutions it considers unsafe to partner with in research, as the U.S. government considers them “high-risk”.

This new policy is effective immediately. The new policy was created because of increasing risk to OU from foreign governments, according to a university press release.

The university’s Office of Export Control and Secure Research Operations does restricted party screenings to identify high-risk individuals and organizations using U.S. Departments of Commerce, State, and Treasury lists, according to the release. Screenings are automatically conducted on visiting scholars, graduate students, foreign entities and purchases from foreign entities, and can be requested by faculty, researchers or staff. This is to ensure the safety of the research the university is conducting.

The university has also established a policy of denial and a Denied Persons list for those it deems “high-risk”.

According to the release, OU will no longer collaborate with “The Seven Sons of National Defense,”  a group of seven Chinese universities — including the Beijing Institute of Technology, Beihang University, Harbin Engineering University, Harbin Institute of Technology, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing University of Science and Technology, and Northwestern Polytechnical University —  due to being identified by the U.S. government as subordinates of the Chinese agency and defense industry.

There is also an unverified persons list, which consists of those who did not cooperate with the screenings and have been “red-flagged.” According to the release, these must be resolved with the university before taking part in a transaction.

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