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Columbia University officials said Friday they are still awaiting word from the Korean Scholarship Foundation (KSF) on a request the university made last year for $1.5 million to support Columbia's Korean Studies program.
The Koreans may be stalling on the gift because of the controversy stirred by their $1 million gift to Harvard two years ago, one official said.
Howard Rusk, vice president for alumni relations and development at Columbia, said Friday that the Koreans may not wish to receive more negative publicity for contributing a large sum of money to another American university.
Rusk added that he hopes the gift will come through soon and that it will be "non-political."
Columbia would use the money to expand a library collection of Korean literature and art, Rusk said.
Harvard plans to use the 1975 gift from the KSF, an affiliate of the Korean Traders Association (KTA), to establish a chair in modern Korean society and economy. The one stipulation attached to the grant was that Harvard may not use it for political studies. John K. Fairbank, Higginson Professor of History Emeritus, last year called the stipulation a reasonable condition that any country making that large a contribution could make.
The chair will not be filled for at least ten years because nobody is currently qualified to fill a professorship in Korean Studies, Dwight Perkins, chairman of the Department of Economics and director of the chair, said earlier this year.
Richard Mooney, assistant to the vice president for development at Columbia, said Friday Columbia's primary concern in accepting the gift will be to make sure that the money is in no way connected to the Korean government.
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