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Scrutiny of Universities' Saudi Ties

October 23, 2018
 
 

Universities are coming under scrutiny for their ties to Saudi Arabia following the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident journalist, in a Saudi consulate in Turkey. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology said in a recent message to faculty that it is conducting a “swift, thorough reassessment of MIT’s Institute-level engagements with entities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia so that we can determine a course of action for the Institute.” A “Global MIT” website lists more than 20 university initiatives involving partners or projects in Saudi Arabia, many of which deal with research on energy or water issues.

The Hartford Courant also reported on Monday that an activist with the Middle East Crisis Committee demanded that the University of New Haven end its partnership with the King Fahd Security College in Riyadh, saying that it was a scandal “that the University of New Haven has relations with a police college in a country known for human rights abuse, known for torturing and killing dissidents.”

A New Haven spokesman did not return the Courant’s request for comment Monday. In June 2016 the university announced that it was collaborating with King Fahd Security College to develop a four-year bachelor’s degree in security studies. "We are excited to put the University of New Haven's world-renowned programs in criminal justice, national security, and forensic science studies at the service of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's next generation of security professionals," New Haven’s president, Steven H. Kaplan, said in the 2016 news release announcing the collaboration.

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