Indian college buys Lengthy Island campus, cancels different proposed purchases beneath regulatory scrutiny


A non-public Indian college system planning to increase into the U.S. just lately bought a 170-acre, 11-building campus on Lengthy Island however has canceled plans to accumulate two campuses of the for-profit Artwork Institutes, one in Boston and one in New York Metropolis, after the deal got here beneath scrutiny from state regulators in Massachusetts.

Aseem Chauhan, Amity College’s chancellor, mentioned the college had been “taken without warning” by destructive media consideration it acquired after the Massachusetts lawyer basic issued a information launch elevating issues about its proposed buy of the New England Institute of Artwork (NEIA).

“We got little or no alternative to defend ourselves or to mission the proper image,” Chauhan mentioned in written responses to questions. “The emotions might have been in opposition to NEIA and in opposition to a transaction which might see the establishment survive, however we suffered due to it. We didn’t see it as worthwhile to proceed pursuing the transaction on this setting.”

Amity had been within the course of of buying NEIA in addition to the Artwork Institute of New York Metropolis, two Artwork Institutes-branded campuses within the strategy of being shut down by their guardian firm, Schooling Administration Corp.

Plans for the sale had been outlined in broad phrases in a joint letter NEIA and Amity despatched to the Massachusetts Division of Increased Schooling in July. The Massachusetts division subsequently despatched a Sept. 9 letter to the NEIA president, elevating a collection of particular questions in regards to the proposed sale and in search of extra details about Amity and the Ritnand Balved Schooling Basis, which Chauhan mentioned is the sponsoring entity for Amity College. The letter from the division cites “vital gaps within the info that we have now about this transaction and the ensuing establishment.”

Massachusetts Lawyer Normal Maura Healey subsequently weighed in, releasing a Sept. 22 letter she wrote to the state’s Board of Increased Schooling urging it to carry a listening to “on the efficiency of NEIA’s present teach-out and its new plan to outsource the rest of its teach-out obligations to an unlicensed international entity.”

“College students who invested their time and hard-earned cash into this college deserve the schooling they had been promised by NEIA, not [to be] handed over to an unlicensed international company with no historical past of instructing artwork college students in america,” Healey mentioned within the accompanying press launch.

In an interview with the nationwide public radio present The Takeaway, Healey expressed issues about Amity’s “observe file,” particularly noting that “Amity was based by a person who was charged with fraud many, a few years in the past.” The Related Press reported in October that Amity’s founding president, Ashok Chauhan, the daddy of the 2 present chancellors, Aseem and Atul Chauhan, was charged with fraud within the Nineties in Germany, the place he ran a bunch of firms, however was by no means extradited from India. A spokeswoman for Germany’s Inside Ministry, which incorporates the federal police, declined to remark when contacted by Inside Increased Ed, saying the ministry doesn’t touch upon particular person instances.

“I’m very shocked to listen to this even come up,” mentioned Aseem Chauhan. “These had been allegations which had been appeared into greater than 20 years in the past and located to be baseless. These points usually are not in any method associated to our schooling basis. It’s unclear to me why they had been introduced up and talked about within the media … associated to a transaction which we had simply approached the [Massachusetts] Board of Increased Schooling with to get their steerage. We must always have been given an opportunity to correctly introduce ourselves first.”

By the use of introduction, Amity has 10 campus places in India in addition to eight worldwide places in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and London, in addition to China, Mauritius, Romania, Singapore and South Africa. Chauhan, the chancellor, described it as “one of many largest non-public nonprofit teams in Asia with 125,000 college students” and emphasised Amity’s strengths in analysis and innovation. “College school over the previous years have filed greater than 750 patents and labored on 300 government-funded analysis tasks; they’ve printed greater than 1,500 case research and 1000’s of analysis papers in Scopus-registered journals,” he mentioned. “Within the strategy of commercializing the [intellectual property rights] developed on the campus and supporting entrepreneurs within the area, greater than 300 expertise ventures have been incubated at Amity Innovation Incubators.”

In June, Amity’s campus within the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh earned preliminary accreditation from a U.S. regional accreditor, the Western Affiliation of Colleges and Faculties’ Senior Faculty and College Fee. The WASC accreditation is particular to 4 campus places — three in India, in Noida, Higher Noida and Lucknow, and one in Dubai — relatively than to the entire Amity College system.

“Our accreditation from WASC was meant as an train to benchmark our high quality, governance, methods and processes with the most effective on this planet,” Chauhan mentioned. “This was not a technique to get the accreditation as a way to open a campus within the U.S. However sure, having gone by means of the rigorous course of and having achieved accreditation, we really feel that we perceive intimately the standard requirements anticipated by U.S. regulators and we’re ready not solely to satisfy them, however to exceed them.”

Kevin Kinser, a professor and chair of the schooling coverage research division at Pennsylvania State College, mentioned that Amity’s deliberate entry into the U.S. raises new questions for the regional accrediting companies, a few of that are energetic or have been energetic in accrediting international establishments. Kinser mentioned the implications of these international establishments then utilizing that accreditation to open campuses in america “will not be one thing I feel they [the accreditors] have thought of.”

Amity’s Uttar Pradesh campus is one in all a dozen international universities accredited by or within the strategy of in search of accreditation by WASC, which accredits establishments based mostly in two U.S. states, California and Hawaii. WASC’s president, Mary Ellen Petrisko, mentioned that choices for Amity in search of accreditation from WASC for its New York campus would rely on solutions to questions in regards to the establishment’s authorized standing, together with whether or not it’s thought-about a department campus, an extra location or a free-standing entity.

“If it had been a completely freestanding impartial establishment, I feel the query is perhaps whether or not they must go to Center States” — the accrediting company for the area that features New York — “for accreditation, however we don’t know the main points,” Petrisko mentioned. WASC officers say Amity has not contacted them in regards to the Lengthy Island campus.

Chauhan mentioned Amity officers haven’t finalized their considering on whether or not they are going to search accreditation by means of WASC or one other accrediting company, “however are evaluating all potentialities.”

Amity introduced the acquisition of its new waterfront campus on Lengthy Island from St. John’s College in October. Chauhan didn’t immediately reply to a query about projected enrollment for the Lengthy Island campus, although Instances Increased Schooling reported that it plans to finally enroll as much as 10,000 college students, primarily from the U.S. Kinser, the Penn State professor and an professional on international department campuses, is skeptical, noting that an enrollment of half that will make it “one of many greatest department campuses on this planet.”

“It’s onerous for me to think about Amity as a model identify from India being the form of establishment that will appeal to numerous U.S.-based college students,” mentioned Kinser.

Chauhan additionally didn’t deal with whether or not the campus will provide undergraduate or graduate packages or each. “The packages that we suggest to supply can have a powerful international side,” he mentioned. “We can also suggest STEM packages, which can also be an space of experience for us. We additionally intend to have a powerful analysis element to all of our packages.”

Chauhan mentioned Amity is “in contact” with the New York State Schooling Division “and can share plans with you as we transfer additional within the course of.”

In a written assertion, the state schooling division mentioned, “The acquisition of actual property on Lengthy Island by Amity doesn’t give them authority or permission to function a university at that location. The New York State Schooling Division had no position within the buy of actual property in NYS by Amity. Amity can not open a university at that location, or wherever else in NYS, with out specific authority granted by the NYS Board of Regents to take action.”

The division mentioned that neither Amity nor Ritnand, the related basis, should date submitted an utility or proposal to function a university within the state.



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