Growth in Middle Eastern Students at Idaho State Causes Tensions

March 22, 2016

The growth in the number of students from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia at Idaho State University has caused unease on campus and in the community, The New York Times reported. The nearly 1,200 Middle Eastern students account for about 10 percent of Idaho State’s total enrollment.

Some professors report high rates of cheating among students from the Middle East and fault the university for admitting students who are poorly prepared. At the same time, one student quoted by the newspaper objected to what he described as the treatment of all Middle Eastern students as cheaters based on the actions of some.

Students from the Middle East reported facing discrimination on campus and in the politically conservative, predominantly Mormon city of Pocatello. Professors and officials acknowledged cases of discrimination, while suggesting that some of the students’ behaviors -- including what law enforcement officials describe as inappropriate overtures toward women and a disregard for or lack of knowledge of traffic laws -- have contributed to tensions.

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