Harvard and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration in response to ICE revoking student visas for international students if their classes transition online. Harvard has already chosen to close for the fall semester, which means Harvard students would have to return home, and do their classes from wherever that may be. President Trump called Harvard out for choosing to close at a Department of Education event on Tuesday, saying, “I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s an easy way out. And I think they ought to be ashamed of themselves.”
ICE has said students who have in person programs, or had a mix of in person and online classes, would be allowed to stay. This decision sparked outcry from the left, who do not believe the president made the choice in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
But Harvard and MIT want to challenge this decision, and is asking the courts to block it. The suit states that ICE “proceeded without any indications of having considered the health of students, faculty, university staff, or communities.
Lawmakers, however, are not buying this complaint, and are quick to call out Harvard and MIT’s financial motivations. Senator Marsha Blackburn, who has been tough on mainland China’s abuse of Hong Kong citizens’ human rights and their infringement on the region’s “autonomous” status, was quick to point out the hypocrisy. In a tweet, she had strong words for the universities, writing, “Good afternoon Harvard and MIT! I see you’re doing your part in maintaining your relationship with China. @Harvard, is this about the $1B you receive from China yearly? @MIT, what about your ties to Chinese AI companies that help the CCP enslave the Uyghur population.”
Harvard received $9 million in aid from the federal government as a result of the Coronavirus. Congress holds the purse strings, and if senators believe Harvard, among other universities, are not acting in good faith, they have the ability to withhold funding. President Trump has already made it clear today he may withhold federal funding if schools stay shutdown in the fall, and after Senator Blackburn’s tweet, it is clear he is not alone in his feelings.
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