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Science Careers Blog

May 13, 2010

Mexican Researchers Cancel Arizona Exchange Program

According to the Arizona Republic, two universities in Mexico canceled their academic exchange programs with University of Arizona (UA) as a result of a new Arizona law that allows police to question individuals they feel might be in the U.S. illegally.  Among the canceled exchanges is a program for scientific researchers from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), the country's largest university.

In other fallout from the new law, an organization of Hispanic and Native American scientists removed Phoenix, Arizona as a potential site for its 2012 conference.

Francisco Marmolejo, UA's assistant vice president for western hemisphere programs, told the Phoenix newspaper last Friday that UNAM would no longer send students on exchange programs due to fears of harassment from authorities. The Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí, a state college in eastern Mexico, also canceled its exchange programs with UA for similar reasons.

Two exchange programs with UA were immediately canceled, including a delegation of 10 scientific researchers from UNAM. The other immediate cancellation involved a program for nursing students from the San Luis Potosí institution.

As we reported two weeks ago, UA's president Robert Shelton sent a letter to to the campus community after Arizona's governor signed the law, known as SB 1070. In the letter, Shelton told of students who initially chose to attend UA, but changed their plans after the law passed, as well as his concerns about the campus's international community. According to the Arizona Republic, UA has some 200 students from Mexico.

SACNAS, a 37-year-old organization made up of scientists and science students of Hispanic and native American origin removed Phoenix from consideration as a site for its 2012 annual conference. In a letter to Arizona's governor, SACNAS president president Jose Dolores Garcia said, "the immigration law SB1070 will make the state inhospitable to people of color, especially Hispanics."

The Arizona Republic reports that the National Association of Black Accountants, the International Communications Association and the National Urban League, and the oldest African-American Greek-lettered fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, have already canceled scheduled conventions in Phoenix because of the law.

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