Almost ten percent of Idaho State University’s population is made up of students from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. But recent and continued reports of violence against the Middle Eastern community in Pocatello are causing some to question how long these students will attend the school.
Idaho State Journal reporter Cydney McFarland has been covering the issue. She says national media stories from The New York Times have prompted people in the community to try and combat perceptions of bigotry.
“This stuff would have sparked a little bit with the community," says McFarland, "but I think they got a much bigger reaction because it felt like Pocatello was being – essentially – internationally embarrassed."
McFarland says some religious groups have come together to support the Muslim students from the Middle East, trying to make them feel welcome. But she says despite this, it’s likely fewer and fewer students from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia will attend ISU in the coming years.
Listen below to McFarland recount alleged stabbings and burglaries against Middle Eastern students, and how the university has responded.
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