Navarro College; Stop Ebola, Stop Stigmatization!


Listen to my Radio France Interview below:

Unless you live under a rock, you are probably aware of the ongoing Ebola epidemic  which has affected multiple countries, with some having widespread transmission (Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone), and some with localized transmission (Nigeria, Spain, United States) and Senegal with a travel-associated case.

Of the countries listed above, only Nigeria and Senegal, have currently been declared Ebola free, with the CDC declaring that 1Persons who entered Nigeria on or after September 30, 2014 are not at risk for exposure to Ebola. Persons who entered Senegal on or after September 20, 2014 are not at risk for exposure to Ebola.”

Hence, it came as a shock when I got a call from a very close Nigerian friend of mine in Texas recently, that his brother-in-law along with some other Nigerians had been denied admission to a ‘Navarro College’ in Corsicana, Texas (which I was not even aware of its existence prior to that moment) based solely on being citizens of a country with Ebola cases, or in their words “Navarro College is not accepting international students from countries with confirmed Ebola cases.”

letter_nav

While I had had some embarrassing moments myself based on people’s ignorance about Ebola , this was the first time that I was hearing that a university, which is supposed to be more objective was making a decision to ban all students from multiple countries based on apparent fear. This was even more ironic given that the students in this case were from Nigeria which had been declared Ebola-free (for now) and was a distance of 6525 miles away, yet Navarro College is located only 31 miles away from Dallas , Texas, which has an active Ebola case.

ebfree

It was not until I had seen the letters myself that I sprung into action on social media , and even then, lots of people found it difficult to believe despite my providing a snapshot of the letter. Many people have requested for a pdf of the actual letter which you can find here.

Since then, there has been lots of reactions on Twitter ranging from witty to serious, from surprise to shock. Some have asked that the issue be taken up legally, while some have themselves written to the Navarro College International Admissions  Officer whose details are available here . We have also gotten some of the affected students to write the school demanding an explanation and a reversal of the decision.

Some people have asked why the students cannot apply elsewhere (within or outside the USA), but I think those people miss the point. It is no longer about these young men and women who were wrongly discriminated against, but it is now about reversing that decision so that others do not resort to the same uninformed action. If during the civil rights movement, everyone had just resorted to applying elsewhere or joining a different bus when they were discriminated against, we would still be in the same situation today.

As one of the folks on Twitter who have taken it upon themselves to fight this said ” I have sent an email to the international programmes office of the school, with an official enquiry to this regard. I have also forwarded a complaint to the WHO International Health Regulations council, for further investigation and advise. This contravenes every international health and migration regulation that there is, and I hope that we can get more information, following investigation.”

What you can do to help!

1) You can write Navarro College through elizabeth.pillans@navarrocollege.edu and let them know Nigeria is Ebola-free, and  the fight against ebola worldwide will be won with education and information, not stigmatization!

2) You can share my facebook status which has the snapshot of the letter from the school. https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10205114365962569&substory_index=0&id=1346702752

3) You can retweet my Twitter status about this case. https://twitter.com/idrisayobello/status/521444572820279296

4)You can tweet at Navarro College’s handle on Twitter @NavarroCollege ) expressing your displeasure at this action.

5) You can post on  Navarro College’s FB page https://www.facebook.com/NavarroCollege  expressing your displeasure at this action.

6) You can educate yourself and others about Ebola at the CDC site and also read this great short piece by Seth Godin

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that Ebola has been contained in Nigeria (please visit

).

No new cases of Ebola has been reported in Nigeria  since August 31 (please read the article entitled “Nigeria Has Successfully Contained Ebola, US Hopes To Learn From Their Response”, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/09/nigeria-contains-ebola-outbreak_n_5959442.html).
Thank you

Idris Bello

October 13, 2014

Story Links:
Washington Post – Navarro College in Texas apologizes after rejecting Nigerian applicants over Ebola fears
NBC News – Texas College Rejects Nigerian Applicants, Cites Ebola Cases
Gawker – Texas College Rejects African Applicants Because It Fears Ebola
Chron – Texas college won’t admit students from countries with Ebola cases
MTV – Did This Texas College Really Reject A Nigerian Student Because Of Ebola?
The Daily Beast – Did A Texas College Deny Men Admittance Because Of Ebola?
CBS Local – Did A Texas College Deny Men Admittance Because Of Ebola?
Navarro College – Updates from the Director
CNBC – Texas college rejects Nigerian applicants, cites Ebola cases
Newser – Texas College Turns Down African Students Over Ebola
Vocativ – College Allegedly Rejects Nigerian Student Because of Ebola Fears
Bloomberg Business Week – A Texas College Rejects Nigerians Over Ebola Concerns
Corsicana Daily Sun – Navarro College sends rejection letters citing Ebola concerns
Slate – Texas College Rejects Nigerian Students, Says Won’t Accept Students From Ebola Countries
The Independent – Texas college rejects applicants from places with Ebola (Texas has Ebola)
Daily Mail – Texas college rejects application from Nigerian students because of Ebola
San Antonio – Texas college won’t admit students from countries with Ebola cases
Mediaite – Texas College Rejects African Applicants Because They’re from Ebola Land
Yahoo Finance – Texas college bans students from ‘Ebola countries’
Dallas News – Texas college says it’s rejecting all international students from countries with Ebola
Complex – Texas Community College Cites Ebola Fears in Rejection Letters to African Applicants
Mother Jones – Texas College Rejects Two Nigerian Applicants Because of Ebola Panic
Financial Times – Nigerian Twitter Campaign Informs the World About Ebola
Fox51 – ETX college confirms denying applicants due to Ebola fears
CBS19.TV – UPDATE: Navarro College doubles down on Ebola-related admissions ban

 

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About Idris Ayodeji Bello

Afropreneur & Partner, LoftyInc Ltd (Operators of the Wennovation Hub) Leading expert in deploying technology and innovation to drive public sector reforms and enabling good governance. Passionate about bringing about positive change in Africa through innovation and entrepreneurship!
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2 Responses to Navarro College; Stop Ebola, Stop Stigmatization!

  1. Joey says:

    Perhaps we have no idea of the massive propaganda and misinformation being peddled by western media, case in point CNN concerning ‘infestation’ of Africa of Ebola disease and any other ‘bad bad thing’. CNN is completely annoying in this aspect. Any mention of Ebola in their news, even if it is a news item on a Spanish nurse, they show the map of Africa and red flag Nigeria, Liberia and other west African countries, as if the whole sub-saharan Africa is plagued. Then they come up with false scary statistics, ‘500 people die of ebola daily in West Africa: WHO’ and similar rubbish from nonsense organisations. This is the result, global discrimination by ignorant fools against Nigerians based on lies and propaganda peddled by the western media. It used to be exaggerations only about boko haram, and corruption, now ebola is added.

    see, we need to tell our stories ourselves. Our media isnt really helping matters, as we only announce ‘bad bad news’ or ourselves. (Not that our leaders are helping anyway). But we need to fight to preserve our own image as hardworking smart and honest people. The western world can go to hell! WE WILL OVERTAKE THEM, INSHAALLAH AND INSHAJESUS. The white man knows how strong we are, that we can overtake them soon, and that is why they constantly brainwash us to make us feel inferior in all aspects, want to keep us down. But ‘Aye o le pa kadara da, won ko le f’owo ago seyin ni’ (The world cant change our fate, they can only slow us down.)

    we need to tell our own good stories. Always.
    All respect to Chinua Achebe, who understood this long ago.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Texas College Rejects African Applicants Because They’re from Ebola Land • PilatoghNews

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