North AmericaSaudi Arabia

US universities reconsidering ties with Saudi Regime

American colleges and universities are reconsidering ties with Saudi Arabia despite having received over $350 million from the kingdom over the past 10 years, according to a report.

This follows the assassination of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed after entering the Saudi mission in Istanbul on October 2.

The incident triggered international condemnation and in the US several lawmakers have called for sanctions against the kingdom, while others demanded Washington stop its nuclear talks with Saudi Arabia.

‘Khashoggi strangled, dismembered in Saudi mission’

Istanbul’s chief prosecutor says journalist Jamal Khashoggi was suffocated as soon as he entered Saudi Arabia’s consulate in a planned killing.

Now, the questions about Khashoggi’s death have caused some US colleges or universities to reconsider current or future deals, The Associated Press reported.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which cooperates with Saudi universities on research projects, has been working with Saudi company Aramco for a long time.

In March, the company pledged to provide the school with $25 million for research in areas like renewable energy and artificial intelligence.

On October 22, the institute said, however, it planned to conduct a “swift, thorough” examination of its partnerships with Riyadh, calling Khashoggi’s disappearance a serious concern.

Another company, SABIC, has given Babson College, near Boston, $2.5 million through a contract, but  college officials told the AP they were pursuing events and gathering opinions from their community about how to continue their work with the company.

Babson trains Saudi business leaders in addition to other areas of work it shares with Saudi universities that include research and training partnerships.

Meanwhile, many other US universities have not indicated whether they are reconsidering ties with Saudi Arabia.

The University of California, Berkeley, said their financial support from Saudi Arabia, that is part of a $6 million contract to develop special technology for renewable energy, was not being reconsidered.

Northwestern University refused to say whether it was reviewing any of the money it receives from Saudi Arabia.

Other schools, including the University of Michigan, refused to elaborate on Saudi Arabia’s financial support.

According to an examination by the AP, the amount of financial help from Saudi Arabia or organizations under its control that has gone to 37 American schools since 2011 is at least $354 million.

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