Three years ago, MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon had an offer to bail out the university's floundering campus in Dubai.
But as a recent Bloomberg article points out, she was suspicious since some of the investors were from Iran.
She told wilx.com Wednesday, she had to make sure she wasn't making a short-term decision with long-term consequences-- like potentially opening a door for spies, to get into America.
"It's not to say every student who comes from Iran is a spy," Simon said. "We have plenty of students from various countries who are here studying and have over a long period of time, so it's not about an individual. It was about a source of funds from a corporate entity. And the nature of the source of those funds from a corporate entity with multi-national offices."
The CIA could not confirm where those funds came from. That was enough for Simon to pull the plug on the entire Dubai operation at a loss of about $3.7 million dollars.
But in today's world, it's a loss Simon sees as more favorable than the potential risk.
"When you do due diligence, around opportunities that arise internationally, you have to know how that affects countries on lists that are all known to us for which engagement with the U.S. is problematic," Simon explained. "When you're offered some support that came at a critical time, out of the blue, it's one of the things you have to sit back and question and make sure you're not making a short term decision with long term consequences."
Simon tells us MSU was used as an example in the article more because she's the new head of the Higher Education National Security Advisory Board, not because MSU is a hotbed for espionage activity.
The board is something for all universities and colleges to turn to when faced with difficult security questions like the one MSU faced in Dubai.
"You don't have to take their advice. This is not about being directed by the U.S. government, but hopefully you're doing the right kind of due diligence when working in a complex world."