Navarro College in Texas.
A community college in Texas is reported to have denied admission to two Nigerian applicants, citing the Ebola virus as a reason for rejecting their application.
NBC’s Dan Mangan reported that Kamorudeen Abidogun, a mechanical engineer who lives in Richmond, Texas, said two of his relatives living in Nigeria had applied to the school using his mailing address. The school sent rejection letters back to Abidogun, citing confirmed Ebola cases in their home country as the reason why the students couldn’t be admitted for the spring 2015 school term.
A copy of the letter sent to CNBC news 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.”
After CNBC made several requests for a statement to the college, regarding the applicants’ rejection, the institution’s Vice President for Access and Accountability Dewayne Gragg finally responded in an e-mail that the college does value its diverse population of international students. Gragg noted that about 100 students from Africa were currently enrolled at the college. “Unfortunately,” Gragg continued, “some students received incorrect information regarding their applications to the institution.”
A copy of a similar letter was tweeted by Idris Bello, another Nigerian who lives in Texas. Bello received the rejection letter, with the same explanation that he was a student from an Ebola stricken country. Bello told CNBC that the institution’s reason was “embarrassing.”
The self-described “afropreneur” has started an anti-Ebola movement on his Twitter page, also calling for the college to “stop discrimination.” One of his tweets reads, “Though Nigeria has no current case of #Ebola, @NavarroCollege is denying Admission to Nigerians.”
As of Oct. 20, the World Health Organization declared Nigeria Ebola-free after 42 days without a new infection. Nigeria, one of the most populous countries in Africa, dealt with its first case of Ebola when the late Liberian-American diplomat Patrick Sawyer collapsed at an international airport in Lagos, in July. Due to the country’s unpreparedness to contain the disease, Sawyer did infect several people, including the health workers who treated him at the hospital. Though the Center for Disease Control reported 20 cases and eight deaths from Ebola in the country, a more widespread impact was stemmed as Nigerian officials immediately took actions by isolating and treating patients infected by the disease. The country also took other measures by identifying and monitoring on a daily basis about 900 people who had contact with those who were infected by the disease, according to the New York Times.
WHO confirms that more than 9,000 people have become infected by the Ebola disease, and more than 4,500 people have died from the disease so far.