It’s Time to End Ideological Exclusion Policies at the U.S. State Department

April 14, 2010

By Rachel Banks

An editorial in the New York Times today called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to end ideological exclusion policies and reconsider the questionable visa denials practices from the Bush Administration. We couldn’t agree more.

On February 25, NAFSA along with 20 other organizations sent a letter to Secretary Clinton, thanking her for ending the exclusion of Professors Adam Habib of the University of Johannesburg and Tariq Ramadan of Oxford University. The letter goes on to urge Secretary Clinton to end all State Department policies and practices pertaining to ideological exclusion, and replace them with policies based on security threats.

As reported in late March, Secretary Clinton signed orders in January lifting the ban barring Dr. Habib and Dr. Ramadan, and since then, both professors have traveled successfully to the United States. As the New York Times points out,

The appearances last week by the two men at separate public forums in New York City were a tangible victory for freedom of speech and the robust exchange of ideas across international borders.

However, as the article illustrates, much more needs to be done. It is time to end all State Department policies and practices pertaining to ideological exclusion for foreign scholars so that we can ensure a vibrant global marketplace of ideas.


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