Saturday, January 28, 2017

Every place I go, I think of you ... sad!

It feels like an eternity.  But, it has been only a week since the new POTUS was sworn in.

As much as I try to get away from the topic of the POTUS and his party, it is everywhere.  The headline grabbing stories are always related to the POTUS, be it at The Economist or the Chronicle of Higher Education or the NY Times.

But then, such are the kinds of developments in one week.  A mere week.

Even at Scientific American!
Nearly 3,000 academics, including 13 Nobel laureates, have signed a petition denouncing an executive order signed by President Donald Trump that bars people from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the US.
I tell ya, it is difficult to read anything else anywhere it seems.

Even if one thinks that higher education is, well, insignificant, the businessman POTUS should surely know that it is one heck of an industry--after all, he tried to get into the action with a fake university, remember?  Unlike his university diploma mill, the signatories' institutions are real universities with plenty of hyphenated-Americans who are not white Christians.  Which is why, for instance:
Meanwhile, the executive order has already had a chilling effect in academia. On Friday evening, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s international scholars department advised students from the seven affected nations to postpone any international travel for fear they might not be able to return to the US.
I think about the small and medium sized colleges where foreign students bring lots of money.  Higher education is one valuable export.  Thanks to those students, the local communities also flourish.  I would think that this executive order will quickly translate into a death-knell for many colleges and their towns, similar to what happened at Pocatello, Idaho, after the intense violence--words and actions--from the townspeople against Muslims.  And that Idaho situation was when this POTUS was merely a candidate!  Now, the university is reeling from a red budget:
A decline in enrollment by Middle Eastern students in the past few years has left Idaho State University with a $12 million shortfall, President Arthur Vailas told legislative budget writers Tuesday.
“We are one of the many schools in the United States that had a significant impact on the change in policies of student scholarships from the Middle East,” Vailas told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. “It’s a 35 percent decline, and of course that’s going to impact revenue.
The hate-filled people didn't think about such developments!  In terms of number of students:
A university official told the Times that cuts in scholarships from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait would mean no Middle Eastern freshmen would arrive in Pocatello this fall, cutting enrollment by more than 250, on top of 100 Saudi students who already had chosen to leave. 
I would imagine that foreign students are carefully looking at the map of the US and figuring out the blue state versus red state politics.  As one Saudi female student--whom I met while traveling--found out, Oregon is a welcoming state true to its blue-politics, in contrast to the red-state politics that forced her out of Idaho.

Hmmm ... there is that old saying, right? Oh yeah, you can catch a lot more flies with honey than with vinegar!


Ramesh said...

For once, I'll endorse every expletive that you have thought of to describe this act of the idiot. The worst awful demonstration of bigotry.

Internationally America is well on its way to become a pariah. The buffoon and his cohorts may say they doesn't care, but all the ignorant folk who voted for him will get royally screwed.

Sriram Khé said...

POTUS has understood well that it is easier to show to his followers how he has made the lives of the "enemies" miserable than it is to improve the conditions of the people who voted for him. We humans are apparently such sadistic people--as long as the opponents are in miserable conditions, we don't care even if we are getting screwed. This was exactly what the liberal-democratic framework was trying to counter--that we can all win if we cooperated and traded and ...
I am sure that Republicans, including the two who used to comment a lot here, are happy with such developments. They got what they voted for, and more.

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