Believe it or not, Cleveland sits on the global stage. We may be the city of springtime snow and powerless traffic lights, but our little dot on the map is observed worldwide. Case Western Reserve University has more than recognized this in recent years, implementing a Plan for Internationalization that continues to make the institution a borderless competitor for academic talent.
This effort has materialized in multiple ways, from the creation of the Center for International Affairs to a significant increase in the number of undergraduates studying abroad. Additionally, the university continues to enroll more international students with each class. The problem remains, however, that CWRU is not training future alumni; it is training its future competitors.
The United States’ economy requires highly-skilled workers, especially in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) areas. However, many of the foreign-born university graduates who seek employment in these areas are forced to return to their home county. There they must wait for the proper visa to stay in the United States.
The wait for obtaining an american visa can frequently last ten years. This long delay provides a decade-long opportunity for other countries with streamlined visa options to attract and recruit our talent.
This is the sentiment conveyed by the presidents of several Ohio universities in an open letter to United States senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown. The letter urges Congress and the President to fix the nation’s broken immigration system so that United States-trained talent can innovate within our borders.
The signers of the letter include the presidents of Bowling Green State University, University of Cincinnati, University of Dayton, The Ohio State University, University of Toledo, Miami University, and Northeast Ohio Medical University. But these names pale in comparison to CWRU president Barbara R. Snyder’s name on the list.
In last week’s Editor’s Note I criticized the university for not taking a stand against the unjust jailing of Inamori Prize recipient Beatrice Mtetwa. This week I write with pride that our university – the best in Ohio – is not staying quiet about an issue causing serious effects to both the country and the school.
I understand that being the best university in Ohio and one of the best in the nation comes with certain responsibilities. It means statements made by this institution go noticed and often the proverbial punch must remain pulled.
But it also means words spoken by this school resonate long past the time they are stated and can affect more change than almost any other entity can muster. Forcing graduating talent to become foreign competitors is not in the best interest of the United States, and the time for the government action has long since arrived.
When they do finally act, they’ll find Case Western Reserve University was already there.
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