Harvard, MIT Students Refuse to Leave After Campus Coronavirus Shutdown

A Palestinian student admitted to Harvard University -- a gate to Harvard Yard is seen here -- says his visa has been scrapped
Scott Eisen/Getty

Students at Harvard and MIT are fighting back against the recent decisions to shut down campus housing in response to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. At MIT, 50 students held a “sit-in” protest to demand that university officials reconsider their decision to send students home.

According to a report by Campus Reform, students at Harvard and MIT are panicking over recent announcements that all students would be required to leave campus. Both institutions announced this week that campus residence halls would be shutting down as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus outbreak.

“We’re asking that MIT guarantee that all international students receive housing on U.S. soil and revisit the petitions of students who asked to remain on campus,” one MIT student protester said. “That’s the minimum. There’s also been no discussion of how people can pay for their flights home, the boxes and storage. There’s been no official response, and we’ve love to see more leadership on that.”

The protester told the press that MIT students panicked after receiving notification that their residential hall would be shutting down. Many international students at MIT reportedly told administrators that they would not be able to return home due to travel restrictions.

“The dorm was a warzone. Everyone was confused and packing frantically. My friend said, ‘All of my family is in China, but they denied my application to stay,’” the student added. “When I started asking people about their applications for exemptions, I kept hearing similar stories.”

Students at Harvard also engaged in a sit-in protest to criticize the university’s decision to shut down the campus. Harvard Law School student Felipe Hernandez said that the sit-in protest was used to bring attention to the university’s poor handling of the shutdown process.

“The point of the sit-in was to bring to light just how poorly the Law School has communicated its response to the coronavirus and particularly its response regarding evicting students from their housing — for on-campus housing — and the process of who can stay on, who can appeal, and the rationale and the strategy behind that,” Hernandez said.

Breitbart News reported this week that dozens of universities and colleges have shut their doors in response to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.


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