UMD Responds to Weekend Detention of Professors
DARTMOUTH - Officials from UMass Dartmouth spoke about this weekend's detention of two faculty members during a press conference Monday afternoon and how it may affect the university moving forward.
Two Iranian professors, Mazdak Pourabdollah Tootkaboni and his wife Arghavan Louhghalam, were detained at Boston's Logan International Airport for three hours Saturday while returning from an academic conference in Paris, France. Both are legal U.S. residents with green cards and teach in the College of Engineering.
Associate Dean of the College of Engineering Dr. Ramprasad Balasubramanian spoke with Tootkaboni and Louhghalam shortly after their release.
"We didn't talk a lot about their experience when they were in detention but what was conveyed was that they were treated well and the officers were friendly and helpful while they were awaiting on how to proceed," said Balasubramanian.
Both professors were held due to President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration, which many university officials believe will negatively impact higher education at UMass and across the country.
"We look for the best and brightest both for our faculty and for our students and if this inhibits the ability of universities in this country to get the best and the brightest to come and teach and learn, I think that would be a real tragedy," said Political Science professor Dr. Douglas Roscoe.
Tootkaboni and Louhghalam were said to have returned to work Monday, though were not available to speak with reporters.