Nigerian College Applicant Rejected Due To Ebola Concerns

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

At least two students from Nigeria who applied to a Texas community college were rejected because there are confirmed Ebola infections in their country.

Kamorudeen Abidogun, a Texas man born in Nigeria, told CNBC that he received two letters from Navarro College, 58 miles from Dallas, rejecting two of his family members. Abidogun has five relatives in Nigeria who applied to the school and used his Richmond home as their mailing address.

"Unfortunately, Navarro College is not accepting international students from countries with confirmed Ebola cases,” one letter states. It is signed by the college’s international programs director, Elizabeth Pillans.

Abidogun said he was “disappointed” with the policy. His friend, Idris Ayodeji Bello, 33, was shocked.

“I didn’t believe it, I was so surprised. I thought: This cannot be,” Bello told the Daily Beast.

“I’ve had several people in the community act that way, but this is the first time I was going [heard] that from an institution,” said Bello, an entrepreneur with a master’s in global health from Oxford University. “An institution of learning, for that matter.”

A message to students on the school’s website warns about Ebola and how it is transmitted, but doesn’t state a policy against accepting students from West Africa.

Navarro's vice president for Access and Accountability Dewayne Gragg wouldn't confirm the policy and said the school is focusing recruitment in China and Indonesia this year.

“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," Gragg wrote in an email to CNBC.

"As part of our new honor's program, the college restructured the international department to include focused recruitment from certain countries each year,” he continued. “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.”

The last reported case of Ebola in Nigeria was on Sept. 8. The 20 infections there were the cause of one man, a Liberian who traveled to the country. The outbreak is concentrated in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Abidogun’s five relatives all live in the city of Ibadan, in Oyo State, Nigeria.

Sources: CNBC, Daily Beast

Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / CDC Global "Response volunteers in Nigeria", CNBC