More than 100 Middle East Studies scholars and librarians have signed a letter calling for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions due to concerns about Israel’s policies in Gaza and “the complicity of Israeli academic institutions in the occupation and oppression of Palestinians.”
"Following in the footsteps of the growing number of U.S. academic associations that have endorsed boycott resolutions,we call on our colleagues in Middle East Studies to boycott Israeli academic institutions, and we pledge not to collaborate on projects and events involving Israeli academic institutions, not to teach at or to attend conferences and other events at such institutions, and not to publish in academic journals based in Israel,” states the letter, which has been posted on Jadaliyya.
Six Tuskegee University students participating in a study abroad program in Monrovia have had their travel plans back from Liberia indefinitely delayed due to the Ebola outbreak in the country. A university statement noted that British Airways has suspended flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone through the end of August and said, of the students, that “the matter of when they will be able to leave Liberia is still ongoing.” The university reported that the students are in good health and good spirits and in a safe location.
South Korea's Duksung Women's University has withdrawn invitations to three Nigerian students to attend a conference attracting students from many countries, Reuters reported. The university said that it "politely withdrew" the invitations after a student at the university urged that the entire conference be called off to avoid the spread of Ebola. The university is going ahead with the conference, including 28 students from Africa.
Many American colleges and universities are recruiting more undergraduates from China. An article and video in The Chicago Tribune explore the issues related to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign recruiting about 600 freshmen (around 10 percent of the class) from China. As recently as 2006, Illinois was enrolling only about 20 new undergraduates from China. This year, Illinois held three orientation sessions for Chinese students while they were still in China.
The deadly outbreak has a few colleges and universities changing plans, but the countries that have been hit hard are not places that send large numbers to the U.S. or that attract many study abroad students.
Tohoku University in Japan recently evicted 105 students from a dormitory, citing drunken behavior, The Japan Times reported. The university has been trying to crack down on excessive drinking, but dormitory eviction is an unusual punishment. Yasunori Kumakura, who is in charge of student affairs at the university said that, by evicting students, “we hope to reset the atmosphere in the dorm.... We’re doing it for the sake of their health.”
Educators at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology are concerned that 10 graduate students from Iran are losing their residency permits to stay in Norway, BBC reported. The students were told that their enrollment violated rules designed to prevent students from enrolling in programs that could help Iran's nuclear program.
The University of Maine’s partnership with the for-profit pathway program provider and international student recruiting company Study Group resulted in fewer students than hoped for in its first year, the Bangor Daily Newsreported. The target was to recruit 50 international students to the University of Maine and 20 to the University of Southern Maine in the first year. In fact, just four students enrolled at UMaine in fall 2013, one of whom withdrew; an additional 12 students enrolled later in the academic year and the university expects to enroll 20 new students this coming fall. The University of Southern Maine has enrolled one student through the partnership.
Maine officials told the newspaper that by the time they signed the contract with Study Group – in March of 2013 – they’d missed that year’s recruitment cycle.
As Inside Higher Ed has reported, an increasing number of colleges have turned to corporate pathway providers like Study Group in hopes of increasing their international student populations.