The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Update letter from President Welsh details transition plans for campus
Photo by Julianne Shivers
President Mark A. Welsh III answers reporters questions on Oct. 4, 2023 at the Hall of Champions. (Julianne Shivers/The Battalion)

The Texas A&M Qatar campus has begun to wind down operations after the A&M Board of Regents voted to close the branch in February. In an update from President Welsh, he said a transition team from Qatar and Texas has been working with the Qatar Foundation, a non-profit organization prioritizing education initiatives, to close the campus by 2028. 

The decision came after an October report from the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy that alleged Qatar had “substantial ownership” of nuclear and weapons research on the campus. Welsh refuted that claim in a January letter, defending the campus and its Middle East location. 

A month after Welsh’s rebuttal, the Board of Regents voted 7-1 to end the contract with the Qatar Foundation, effectively closing the campus. A press release claimed the closure was due to a shift in priorities that aimed to advance A&M’s core mission within Texas and the United States. Since then, Welsh said employees from both countries have begun preparations for the 2028 closure.

“Their focus has been ensuring our current students continue receiving the high-quality Aggie engineering experience of those who came before them,” Welsh wrote in his June 20 update. 

Qatar Foundation announced a new undergraduate engineering program in late March at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, or HBKU, a public university near A&M Qatar. Because the branch campus is no longer accepting freshmen, the students who would have been admitted to A&M Qatar are instead getting access to the engineering program at HBKU. 

“Our two universities will operate alongside each other during this transition, and as Texas A&M at Qatar winds down its operations, HBKU will grow its program,” Welsh wrote. 

A major job of the transition team was to evaluate staffing at the Qatar campus, including layoffs. All staff and faculty were provided with at least a 90-day notice, with most getting six months or more. Because of planning difficulties, staffing is set to be reevaluated every six months.

“We do not plan to shorten anyone’s current term of service, but we do intend to use these regular evaluations to inform updated projections for needs after 2026,” Welsh wrote. 

Current Qatar employees can apply for main campus positions in College Station through an exclusive application portal that provides them with priority consideration. Welsh said other employees found opportunities supporting HBKU’s growing engineering program. 

“Between now and the day we finally shutter Texas A&M at Qatar, our focus will remain on providing our current students the excellent academic experience they expect and deserve,” Welsh wrote. “As Aggies, we’re hardwired to build things, so planning the closure of something so many of you were involved in building isn’t easy, but we are moving forward with respect for our students, faculty and staff, and the legacy we have created with Qatar Foundation.”

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About the Contributor
Nicholas Gutteridge
Nicholas Gutteridge, Managing Editor
Nicholas Gutteridge joined The Battalion in January 2023 as a news reporter before being promoted to news editor in August 2023. He interned at The Pentagon in Washington D.C. from January to May 2024 with the U.S. Air Force Office of Public Affairs before rejoining the newspaper. He will be the managing editor for the 2024-25 academic year.
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