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On Academic Exchanges: A Dialogue with Ted Henken

academic exchanges, By Ariana Hernandez-Reguant, Opinion Add comments

Ted published today a follow up to our dialogue on academic exchanges in The Havana Note.  (You can read our early exchange, in an earlier post here “Amistad, Academia and U.S. Travel Policies“, and from there go to his initial piece in El Yuma). Since The Havana Note does not seem to permit comments (or I have not been able to find how), I am linking that piece here.

Research and Academic Exchange in Cuba Is Challenging (but Possible), by Ted Henken.

Nothing to object there. If anything, I would add one more entity to the list of culprits that obstruct academic research in Cuba, and that is the State of Florida. In 2006, the state of Florida banned the use of both public and private funds for research in Cuba. In 2008, a federal judge stroke down the part of the law that concerned private funds. To my knowledge, the ban is still in place in regards to public monies.

Now the state (or rather, its flagship university) is taking on Haiti. Recently, the newsletter of the American Association of University Professors denounced the case of two journalism students at the University of Florida who are penalized for their research in Haiti. I quote:

When the earthquake devastated Haiti in January, the two students were in a small
town close to the epicenter, shooting footage for their master’s thesis. Both were
evacuated from Haiti but vowed to return to complete their filming. They did so
later using private, non-university funds.
In the interim, however, the university had put in place a ban on “UF-sanctioned,
-sponsored, or -approved trips” to Haiti for students. Bougher and Safiullin were
told that their final thesis submission could not include any post-earthquake
footage because they had defied university rules in traveling to Haiti after the
university’s ban.

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