A Texas college apologized on Tuesday for what it's calling "incorrect information" after multiple international applicants received a rejection letter saying that "Navarro College is not accepting international students from countries with confirmed Ebola cases."
Navarro, a two-year public college in Corsicana, is about 60 miles from Dallas, where two health-care workers have been diagnosed with Ebola; the most recent case was confirmed early Wednesday morning. Thomas Eric Duncan, an Ebola-stricken Liberian man who was treated at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, died last week from the illness.
The letter recipients are from Nigeria, a country that hasn't had a new Ebola case in more than 21 days. The World Health Organization is prepared to declare the Ebola outbreak over in Africa's largest country as soon as Monday.
Nigeria managed to contain the Ebola outbreak to just 20 cases, all connected to a Liberian-American air traveler who brought the virus into the country in late July.
Idris Bello, a Nigerian-American who now lives in Texas, posted Navarro College's rejection letter to Twitter earlier this week. In an e-mail, Bello told The Post that he received a copy of the letter from Kamor Abidogun, a friend of his in Houston who works as a mechanical engineer.
"He described the contents but I found it hard to believe, so I had him scan and send me a copy," Bello said.
According to Bello, Abidogun has multiple relatives who used his Texas address to apply to the college, including his brother-in-law, who lives in Nigeria.
— Idris Ayodeji Bello (@idrisayobello) October 12, 2014
Those applicants received identical letters, signed by Navarro College's international programs director, Elizabeth Pillans, as CNBC reported.
In response to media queries, the college issued a statement about the letters.
"Our college values its diverse population of international students," the statement read. "This fall we have almost 100 students from Africa. Unfortunately, some students received incorrect information regarding their applications to the institution."
The college says that it recently "restructured" its international department, with new recruitment efforts. "Our focus for 2014-15 is on China and Indonesia...We apologize for any misinformation that may have been shared with students."
The college did not respond to multiple requests for additional information from The Post.
Bello said he was "disappointed" with the college's response to the letters, adding that the issue of stigmatization he sees at play here "is not just about Nigerians, but about the bigger picture." Referring to the current Ebola outbreak in his home state, he added: "Should universities in Boston now start rejecting student applicants from Texas?"