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.”
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
October 13, 2014
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