Distinguished Professors of Kansas Call for End to International Student Ban


Earlier today, 98 Distinguished Professors of K-State, KU, WSU, and KUMC spoke out against the recent Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s ban and its decision not to issue visas to international students enrolled in schools or programs that are only online for Fall 2020. Phil Nel and Elizabeth Dodd, University Distinguished Professors of English, are among the signatories.

As President Myers argued today in his statement, “A policy that terminates students’ visas in the middle of their studies during a pandemic is wrong and will be detrimental for our students, our university, our state and our nation.” It is “both immoral and counterproductive.”

The Department of English stands with President Myers and the distinguished professors of Kansas in opposing the international student ban. We support our international students and, as part of our department’s Statement of Core Values, “We affirm the presence on campus of people from diverse backgrounds and promise to protect and to serve as a resource for any who feel targeted by hate speech and acts.”

Karin Westman, Department Head


10 July 2020

Dear Senator Roberts, Senator Moran, Representative Marshall, Representative Watkins, Representative Davids, and Representative Estes,

We oppose the Student and Exchange Visitor Program’s student ban, and we ask that you — our representatives in Washington — push for its immediate cancellation. The decision not to “issue visas to students enrolled in schools and/or programs that are fully online for the fall” has no rational basis, serves no practical purpose, damages American universities, and is simply cruel.

  1. The United States thrives when we welcome the world’s greatest minds. Should international students learn that they are unwelcome here, they will go elsewhere, as some have done in the past few years. Unless rescinded immediately, this student ban could catastrophically damage the reputation of U.S. higher education, for years to come.
  2. International students subsidize domestic students. If they are expelled from higher education here, then U.S. colleges and universities — whose budgets have already been hit hard by COVID-19 — will incur greater losses. According to NAFSA: Association of International Educators, international students contributed $41 billion to the US economy in 2019.
  3. The student ban is cruel. Expelling students in the middle of a pandemic serves no useful purpose. It does not increase their safety or the safety of U.S. nationals. By forcing them to travel, it puts them at greater risk. It disrupts their education. It instills in these future leaders a permanent suspicion for the motives of our country.

Talented people from around the globe have helped make America great. Those born in other countries have long enriched our intellectual, social, and cultural lives. Physicist Albert Einstein (Germany), inventor Nikola Tesla (Croatia), architect I.M. Pei (China), cancer researcher Elizabeth Stern (Canada), novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Nigeria), actor Natalie Portman (Israel), Google co-founder Sergey Brin (Russia), Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (India), and Garmin co-founder Min Kao (Taiwan) are just a few of the countless who have lent their brilliance to this country. The student ban will prevent the bright young people studying here right now from doing the same.

In our private capacity as University Distinguished Professors at Kansas State University and the University of Kansas Medical Center, and Distinguished Professors at the University of Kansas and Wichita State University, we ask that you revoke the student ban.

Sincerely yours,

Christer B. Aakerӧy, Chemistry, K-State
Christine M. Aikens, Chemistry, K-State
Perry Alexander, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, KU
Beth Bailey, History, KU
William A. Barnett, Economics, KU
Thomas J. Barstow, Kinesiology, K-State
Alice Bean, Physics, KU
K. Christopher Beard, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, KU
Cory Berkland, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, KU
James D. Bever, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, KU
Raj Bhala, Law, KU
Monica Biernat, Psychology, KU
John Blair, Biology, K-State
Frank Blecha, Anatomy and Physiology, K-State
Mike Blum, Geology, KU
Stefan H. Bossmann, Chemistry, K-State
George R. Bousfield, Biological Sciences, WSU
Nyla Branscombe, Psychology, KU
Yolanda Broyles-González, American Ethnic Studies, K-State
James Calvet, Biochemistry, KUMC
Joyce Castle, School of Music, KU
M.M. Chengappa, Veterinary Medicine, K-State
C. Lewis Cocke, K-State, Physics
Bernard Cornet, Microeconomics, KU
David Darwin, Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering, KU
Elizabeth Dodd, English, K-State
Walter K. Dodds, Biology, K-State
Jolynn Dowliing, School of Nursing, WSU
James H. Edgar, Chemical Engineering, K-State
Michael S. Engel, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, KU
Charles Epp, Public Affairs, KU
David Farber, History, KU
Randall Fuller, English, KU
Keith Gido, Biology, K-State
Wayne Everett Goins, Music, K-State
Robert H. Goldstein, Geology, KU
Michael Hageman, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, KU
John W. Head, Law, KU
Anne D. Hedeman, Art History, KU
Dale Herspring, Emeritus, Political Science, K-State
Andrew C. Isenberg, History, KU
Hartmut Jaeschke, Pharmacology, Toxicology & Therapeutics, KUMC
Ryszard Jankowiak, Chemistry, K-State
Michael R. Kanost, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, K-State
Neal Kingston, Educational Psychology, KU
M.B. Kirkham, Agronomy, K-State
Kimberly Kirkpatrick, Psychological Sciences, K-State
Phillip E. Klebba, Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, K-State
John F. Leslie, Plant Pathology, K-State
Susan Lunte, Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry, KU
Joe Lutkenhaus, Microbiology, KUMC
Rolfe D. Mandel, Anthropology, KU
Richard Marston, Geography & Geospatial Sciences, K-State
Joane Nagel, Sociology, KU
T.G. Nagaraja, Diagnostic Medicine and Pathobiology, K-State
Philip Nel, English, K-State
David Nualart, Mathematics, KU
Randolph J. Nudo, Rehabilitation Medicine, KUMC
Berl R. Oakley, Molecular and Cellular Biology, KU
Rosemary O’Leary, Public Affairs, KU
Dennis H. O’Rourke, Anthropology, KU
Anil Pahwa, Electrical and Computer Engineering, K-State
A. Townsend Peterson, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, KU
William D. Picking, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, KU
David C. Poole, Kinesiology, Anatomy and Physiology, K-State
P.V. Vara Prasad, Agronomy, K-State
Harald E.L. Prins, Emeritus, Anthropology, K-State
Bharat Ratra, Physics, K-State
Charles W. Rice, Agronomy, K-State
Mabel L. Rice, Speech, Language, Hearing, KU
David Roediger, American Studies, KU
Robert Rohrschneider, Political Science, KU
Christophe Royon, Physics, KU
Paul Selden, Emeritus, Geology, KU
Prakash P. Shenoy, Business, KU
James E. Sherow, Emeritus, History, K-State
Mark B. Shiflett, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, KU
Tom Skrtic, Special Education, KU
C. Michael Smith, Emeritus, Entomology, K-State
Michael J. Soares, Pathology, KUMC
Jorge L. Soberón, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, KU
Yan Soibelman, Mathematics, K-State
Christopher Sorensen, Physics, K-State
Brian Spooner, Biology, K-State
Sandra M. Stith, Applied Human Sciences, K-State
Karan S. Surana, Mechanical Engineering, KU
Uwe Thumm, Physics, K-State
Mike Tokach, Animal Sciences and Industry, K-State
Barbara Valent, Plant Pathology, K-State
David B. Volkin, Pharmaceutical Chemistry, KU
J. Douglas Walker, Geology, KU
Steven F. Warren, Speech, Language, Hearing Sciences and Disorders, KU
Robert Warrior, American Literature and Culture, KU
Laurence Weatherley, Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, KU
Michael L. Wehmeyer, Special Education, KU
Ruth Welti, Biology, K-State
Kun Yan Zhu, Entomology, K-State
Dean Zollman, Emeritus, Physics, K-State




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