A professor from New York University has been barred from travelling to the United Arab Emirates for his outspoken remarks against the country’s labour laws for migrant workers.
According to The New York Times, Andrew Ross, a professor at New York University specialised in teaching about labour issues, was in the airport on his way to spend his spring break at New York University Abu Dhabi conducting research into labour issues of migrant workers. He was stopped there and informed he is not allowed into the Gulf state.
New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) is a satellite campus of the university in New York, which also has another similar campus in Shanghai, China. NYUAD has just recently moved into its new campus on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, a luxurious project that will also house offshoot branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums.
Ross has in the past been openly critical of the Emirates’ treatment of migrant workers, including those that worked on building New York University Abu Dhabi’s sprawling new campus in one of the most expensive areas of the emirate.
The UAE authorities have said Ross was not allowed to enter the country for security reasons. However, he suspects it is because of the stance he has taken against the country’s labour laws – sparking debates on academic freedom in offshore campuses of Western universities.
In an email sent to The Times, NYU spokesman John Beckman said that NYU faculty and students have had “zero infringements” on academic freedom and were allowed to travel freely between the campuses. But, he adds that “regardless of where NYU or any other university operates, it is the government that controls visa and immigration policy, and not the university.”