UPDATE: Navarro College doubles down on Ebola-related admissions ban

Navarro College denies student from Nigeria, blames Ebola

UPDATE: Navarro College released an updated statement Thursday afternoon from Vice President of Access and Accountability Dewayne Gragg addressing its decision to bar students from Nigeria from attending classes.

"The safety of all our students and our community is our top concern. We are proud of our robust legacy of attracting and educating international students, including a significant population of Africans. Our African students are important to our educational experience and enrich our campus life here at Navarro College.

"The current Ebola epidemic is a fluid, dynamic, unprecedented situation for our country and our school. At this time, we believe it is the responsible thing to do to postpone our recruitment in those nations that the Center for Disease Control and the U.S. State Department have identified as at risk. We will continue to monitor the situation closely. We are eager to resume accepting student applicants from these countries as soon as possible.

"We're sorry that some disagree with our decision, but we believe that at this time, this is the right and responsible action to take for the safety of our students and community."

CORSICANA (KYTX) -- Navarro College students cried foul Wednesday after one of the school's rejection letters went viral on the internet. That letter tells a Nigerian student he's not welcome because some Nigerians have gotten sick with Ebola.

"Unfortunately Navarro College is not accepting international students from countries with confirmed Ebola cases," the letter reads.

On campus, students agreed that no one should be going anywhere in the U.S. if they're actually infected.

But a blanket ban based on where you're from? They said that's just wrong.

"In America we have anything and everything we could possibly want," Navarro College student Raven Blanton said. "So those that are out there trying to fight for different things, I feel just because this disease is going around, it shouldn't be that they shouldn't be able to come here. I mean, like I said, you can get tested, screened and if they're fine, send them over here if they want to come to school."

"I believe everyone should have a right to get an education," Navarro student Asad Irfan said. "You should not deny somebody education because they're form a country that has a disease."

As of Wednesday, the CDC classified the U.S. and Nigeria in the same risk category for contracting Ebola. Both were said to pose no risk for non-health workers despite having experienced confirmed Ebola cases within their borders.

The Nigerian activist and U.S. citizen who spread Navarro's letter online is asking the college re-think its policy.

"I think what we need to do is educate people, take the right precautions and look at admissions based on evidence, not on ignorance," Idris Bello said. "When I saw it, I was shocked. When an institution actually puts it down in print that it is making decisions based on fear and ignorance, it's shocking."

Dewayne Gragg, Navarro's Vice President of Access and Accountability, offered up this response:

"Our college values its diverse population of international students. This fall we have almost 100 students from Africa. Unfortunately, some students received incorrect information regarding their applications to the institution. As part of our new honor's program, the college restructured the international department to include focused recruitment from certain countries each year. Our focus for 2014-15 is on China and Indonesia. Other countries will be identified and recruitment efforts put in place once we launch our new honors program fall 2015. We apologize for any misinformation that may have been shared with students. Additional information regarding our progress with this new initiative will be posted on our website."

CBS 19's questions about what an honors program has to do with rejections based on Ebola went unanswered.


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