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The University of Washington has extended a fellowship offer to Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese dissident who fled house arrest last month for the U.S. Embassy, triggering a diplomatic crisis.

UW spokesman Norm Arkans said there’s been speculation that Chen would take an offer to study law at New York University, but “we’re giving him another option, should he be interested in the West Coast.”

UW President Michael Young and Provost Ana Mari Cauce, who each signed the letter, wrote: “We believe we could provide an excellent academic home for you in our Jackson School of International Studies or our School of Law.” The letter lists the UW’s history and reputation in China Studies, and concludes, “We have no doubts that we could provide you with a strong collegial and academic environment where you could be involved in taking, and possibly teaching, classes as well as conducting other scholarship.”

If Chen were to accept, “the whole thing would be very interesting,” Arkans said. “We have a big Asian law program. He’s a self-trained lawyer. There are lots of interesting connections.”