U.S. veteran Kerrey refuses to step down from Fulbright University Vietnam

By Kim Thuy   June 7, 2016 | 08:43 pm PT
U.S. veteran Kerrey refuses to step down from Fulbright University Vietnam
Bob Kerrey. Photo by AP
Former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey has said that the backlash from his appointment as chair of Vietnam's first American-style, non-profit university will not stop him from moving forward to help advance the university.

Kerrey’s appointment at Fulbright University (FUV) has opened up old wartime wounds, fueling debate among the pubic who have recalled his role in a traumatic massacre in the peasant village of Thanh Phong in the southern province of Ben Tre during the American-Vietnam War.

When asked by Here & Now's Robin Young if he would step down from his position if it became an issue, he said no.

"If it was an American university maybe I would step down, but it's not; it's a Vietnamese university and the secretary of the party of Ho Chi Minh City fully supports the efforts and my measurement is that if I were to step down it would hurt the project," said Kerrey. 

On February 25, 1969, Kerrey led a Swift Boat raid on the village targeting a communist leader whom intelligence suggested would be there. The village was considered part of a free-fire zone by the U.S. military.

However, the brutal operation went horribly wrong and at least 14 villagers, including women and children, were killed.

Fulbright University Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City, will be open in September this year with a Masters in Public Policy. The U.S. government has committed to contribute more than $20 million to the new university. 

Vietnam’s government had approved in principle the university’s legal status, its own seal and bank account, while putting the school’s education and training program under the management of the Ministry of Education and Training.

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