State Senator Lou Correa
For Immediate Release: March 6, 2013
SACRAMENTO, CA – The California State University (CSU) announced today that it is changing its existing ban on education abroad and academic exchange programs with Mexico, in response to inquiries from Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Speaker John Perez and State Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), who chairs the Senate Select Committee on California-Mexico Cooperation.
In a September 27 letter to the Senate President pro Tem and the Assembly Speaker, CSU Chancellor Emeritus Charles Reed announced that he had directed his staff to “begin review of the current situation in Mexico and its potential effects on [CSU] students.” In a letter released today by Chancellor Timothy White to the legislative leaders, Chancellor White announced that his office will, “evaluate, on a case-by-case basis, requests for student programs and academic-based travel in Mexico to areas that do not have an advisory in effect.”
Chancellor White’s announcement comes on the heels of a September 11 hearing of the Senate Select Committee on California-Mexico Cooperation, where Correa inquired about CSU’s existing policy. Following that hearing, Correa helped draft a letter, which was signed by the Senate President pro Tem and the Assembly Speaker on September 25, asking that the existing ban be reevaluated.
“This is a turning point for our state’s academic system as we now can begin to partner with countries across the globe. I want to thank President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez for their leadership on this issue and for making educational exchange programs between the U.S. and Mexico a priority,” said Correa.
“Millions of U.S. citizens, including students from other public and private universities, safely visit Mexico each year for study, tourism, and business, including more than 150,000 who cross the border every day,” said Correa. “I am very encouraged that CSU, by changing its policy, has opened the doors to allow our students and future leaders to pursue opportunities to better understand the U.S. and Mexico’s shared heritage and culture,” he added.
Correa’s interest in reexamining the travel ban was prompted after receiving a copy of a letter from U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Earl Anthony Wayne addressed to Chancellor Emeritus Reed, in which the Ambassador encouraged the CSU to lift its existing travel ban, which was enacted by executive order of the Chancellor in 2007, amid concerns over the safety and security of CSU students. Yet, since February 2012, the Department has revised its Travel Warning policy relative to Mexico and now encourages travelers to reference a state-by-state assessment of security conditions, which are divided into northern and southern regions.
“We must remain vigilant and do everything we can to ensure the safety of our students. The updated Travel Warning regarding Mexico allows for a regional assessment of the feasibility of exchanges and also serves to better ensure the wellbeing of our traveling students” added Correa. “As California’s number one trading partner, Mexican states should be considered on an individual basis.”