(USNewsMag.com) – The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is facing backlash after the school’s administration acknowledged that the university failed to expel students for protesting against Israel due to issues with their visas.
On November 8, a large protest was organized by a pro-Palestinian group of students called the Coalition Against Apartheid. President of MIT Sally Kornbluth announced that the protest violated university policies and that students who took part in the protest would be banned from participating in non-academic activities on campus in order to avoid facing “collateral consequences” for them, “such as visa issues.”
Kornbluth wrote that a “face-to-face confrontation” took place between pro-Palestinian protesters and pro-Israel counterprotesters, which “intensified.” She said the administration “has serious concerns” that the confrontation “could lead to violence.” In order to avoid “further escalation” and to keep students safe, they “felt it was essential to take action” on the matter.
The MIT president then announced that the protesters involved in the altercation “will remain enrolled” at the university and attend classes. She added that despite some protesters having issues with their visas, they will be referred “to the Ad Hoc Complaint Response Team” for a “final adjudication,” which will also be reviewed by “the chair of the Committee on Discipline.”
The school received backlash for the decision, which delayed the deportation of pro-Palestinian protesters on temporary student visas. Before the chaotic protest event, MIT warned students that they would be expelled for violating school guidelines and policies about such demonstrations. The president’s statement contradicts these previous threats.
Lawmakers and other critics have called out the contradiction, such as GOP Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, who said that issues with visas “are not the only reason” that “pro-Hamas” foreign students should be suspended and that they should also be deported “immediately.”
After Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, Israel launched an immediate retaliation siege on the Gaza Strip to try and weed out the radical Palestinian group, which is in control of their territories. Ever since the conflict erupted, pro-Palestinian protests have erupted on university campuses across the nation.
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