by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
As anti-Israel protesters swarmed college campuses, MIT president Sally Kornbluth drew a line in the sand: Any student engaged in an unsanctioned protest would face expulsion.
On Nov. 9, students decided to try their luck and hold a “die-in” at a campus location that explicitly bars protests. Kornbluth said the demonstration got so heated that she feared it “could lead to violence,” but she did not enforce her prohibition. Students involved in the protest simply received a “non-academic suspension,” a slap on the wrist that allows them to continue attending class.
Kornbluth’s about-face was an attempt to protect foreign students, for whom expulsion would mean deportation.
“Because we later heard serious concerns about collateral consequences for the students, such as visa issues,” Kornbluth said in a statement, “we have decided, as an interim action, that the students who remained after the deadline will be suspended from non-academic campus activities.”
There are roughly one million foreign-born students enrolled at American colleges and universities. At elite institutions like MIT, nearly a quarter of all students hail from another country. Keeping these students on campus is that one reason college administrators have opted not to punish students making anti-Semitic comments, even as Jewish students say they feel unsafe. The Washington Free Beacon could not find a single incident of a student suspended over a protest, even in cases where police made arrests.
Now, Republicans are calling on the Biden administration to revoke the visas of foreign students participating in protests deemed anti-Semitic by leaders of both parties.
“These students, many of whom could be guests in our country, are soliciting donations to benefit groups that want the complete destruction of Israel and the Jewish people,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) told the Free Beacon. “In a normal world, colleges would punish students for supporting genocide, and our country would remove foreign nationals who support Hamas.”