Although Cal Poly signed the contract that would essentially develop and implement a new engineering program at Jubail Unversity College (JUC) in Saudi Arabia, nothing has been finalized and the contract still remains private.
Cal Poly signed the controversial contract in early July, but still waits for JUC to sign its portion, said Susan Opava-Stitzer, dean of Research and Graduate Programs, in an interview last week.
She added that the signed contract was verified as arriving at JUC July 10 by the mail carrier used by Cal Poly, and that JUC’s response was expected by now. The five-year contract would bring $5.9 million to the state university.
“We don’t have the signed contract, yet,” College of Engineering Associate Dean Ed Sullivan said. “There have been several drafts, but that’s true with any contract. I’m not sure how many there have been.”
The contract will only be made public once both parties have signed it, Opava-Stitzer said before refusing further comment. The contract will be overseen by the Cal Poly Corporation, though the Research and Graduate Programs office established the language of the contract.
The controversial partnership has been under the public’s watchful eye for the past several months. Despite opposition from many faculty and students, the state university went ahead with the contract.
“It’s disappointing that the university has ignored protests by students, faculty and a large number who support Cal Poly,” said Unny Menon, an industrial and manufacturing engineering professor who opposes the partnership because of Saudi Arabia’s well-known discrimination against women, Jews, gays and lesbians.
“I have my doubts given that Saudi Arabia is a country where that type of discrimination exists,” Menon said. “I’m not sure how Cal Poly will make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Cal Poly officials have maintained that the state university will not support discrimination of any kind in its partnership with JUC, but their language has changed regarding the issue.
“One of the options for (JUC) is to ask Cal Poly to get someone to teach the classes, but if that happens, then there would be issues in regard to their rather strict culture of men teaching men and women teaching women in the classroom,” said Sullivan, who added that he has seen the contract.
“I don’t visualize there would be any difference in the contract, but if they do ask for teaching assistance from Cal Poly, then we would have to respect their customs,” he added.