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State Dept Mulls Restrictions on Foreign Student Research


(Photo: Wikimedia, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Wikimedia, Creative Commons)

The US State Department is considering the introduction of a controversial rule that would place a limit on the amount of university research that may be conducted by students of foreign nationality, saying that it causes a potential security threat.

Universities throughout the United States routinely perform research on sensitive topics such as defense and satellite technologies, or nuclear engineering and munitions. ?These schools typically receive funding from major defense the likes of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

Due towards the sensitive nature of this research, the Federal government has suggested a controversial rule placing a limit to how involved foreign students can become. ?The State Department suggests that these students may potentially return to their home countries and provide classified information to rival governments.

However, numerous universites and colleges are calling the rule discriminatory and saying it conflicts with academic freedom.

\”We would not be able to perform exactly the same basic foundational research that we do,\” said Steve Eisner, Stanford University\’s director of export compliance. ?\”Stanford has a policy of conducting research openly regardless of citizenship. We\’re not going to tell our Chinese students they can\’t participate.\”

Many of these?schools have signed a letter to the State Department to?protest the proposal. ?Schools on the list include Stanford, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Association of American Universities, addressing 62 research institutions.

Colleges in the United States have become ever more popular among foreign students who are willing to pay high fees in order to attend. ?However, the new rule would decrease the number of research opportunities available?at colleges in america — one of the major draws of foreign STEM students.

Aside from the push back from schools, china government has also expressed their outrage.

“China\’s scientific and technological developments have been achieved with the hard struggle of the Chinese people,\” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei declared throughout a briefing on Thursday.

The move is easily the most recent in a number of attempts made by the Federal government to protect national security through measures that have been referred to as “paranoid overreaction.”

A 2011 FBI report discovered that foreign competitors are in fact benefiting from how easy it\’s to access information on college campuses in the United States. ?In addition, it discovered students, researchers, plus some foreign professors had been working underneath the instruction of foreign governments.

During the 2014-15 school year, the Institute of International Education found close to 1 million foreign students attending US Colleges, with 31% of those students via China. ?Time is a jump in the fewer?than 100,000 which were attending schools within the 1960s when the US started to regulate their access to research, reports Vinay Patel for The University Herald.

Last year, the FBI investigated?53% more ip cases than in?2014. ?The FBI claims the majority of this came from China, starting with suggest that Chinese nationals tried to export technology from the US, including military information that were saved on Boeing computers.

While State Department officials said these were aware of the unpopularity of the proposal, they added that they have yet to get any complaints or suggestions from firms that fund university research.

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