Navarro College's Ebola-Based Rejection Of Two Nigerian Applicants Spells A Troubling Trend
Now that countries across the world are entering the panic phase of the Ebola outbreak, other effects of that fear are starting to manifest. At least two students were rejected by Texas' Navarro College because of Ebola fears. The two students were applying from Nigeria, one of the African countries with confirmed cases of Ebola. The school's rejection further foreshadows a potential future trend in which citizens from Africa hoping to enter the U.S. will be discriminated against because of the Ebola outbreak.
Texas resident Kamorudeen Abidogun, originally from Nigeria, received two letters addressed to his relatives who live in the African country and use Abidogun's home as a mailing address. Three other relatives in Nigeria also applied to the school, but so far he's only received two responses, both rejections. The letters are signed by Navarro's international programs director, Elizabeth Pillans, and reads:
With sincere regret, I must report that Navarro College is not able to offer you acceptance for the Spring 2015 term. Unfortunately, Navarro College is not accepting international students from countries with confirmed Ebola cases.
Currently, Nigeria is listed by the CDC as a country with localized transmission, as opposed to widespread transmission. There hasn't been a new case since Sept. 8, and on Tuesday the Independent reported that Nigeria was just one week away from being completely Ebola-free. Abidogun told CNBC that his relatives live in Ibadan, about 80 miles from Lagos, where Ebola had appeared and was contained. In other words, the chance that these applicants would bring Ebola to the school are very low.
When asked about this Ebola-based policy, Navarro College issued a vague statement that seemed to skirt around the issue. The school's vice president for Access and Accountability, Dewayne Gragg said:
Our college values its diverse population of international students. This fall we have almost 100 students from Africa. Unfortunately, some students received incorrect information regarding their applications to the institution. As part of our new honor's program, the college restructured the international department to include focused recruitment from certain countries each year. Our focus for 2014-15 is on China and Indonesia.... We apologize for any misinformation that may have been shared with students.
Huh? That doesn't come close to answering the question: "Do you base your decision to accept or reject students on whether or not their country has confirmed cases of Ebola?"
The rejection of Abidogun's relatives seems to hint that the answer is yes. And if that's the case, does that mean Navarro won't accept students from the U.S.? Because the U.S. is listed right alongside Nigeria as a country with localized Ebola transmissions. And, even more specifically, will Navarro reject students from neighboring Dallas?
Ironically, Navarro College is located only an hour from Dallas in east Texas, and might just have to answer that last question if Ebola cases in Texas amplify. It's possible that students will be avoiding the school for the very same reason they gave the two Nigerian applicants.
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