The Principal of Glasgow University has said he was left “concerned and appalled” after a veterinary student was prevented from flying to Scotland by President Donald Trump’s travel ban.
Professor Anton Muscatelli said news that Dr Hamaseh Tayari was not able to fly from Costa Rica to Glasgow via New York had resulted in the university being flooded with emails from people who were “outraged” and wanted to help.
Dr Tayari, a specialist in veterinary anaesthesia, travels on an Iranian passport.
President Trump last week signed an executive order cancelling visas for people from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
The countries are Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Professor Muscatelli said: “When I became aware on Saturday evening that one of our postgraduate veterinary students, Dr Hamaseh Tayari, was being prevented from travelling back from a holiday in Costa Rica through the United States and on to Glasgow I was both concerned and appalled.
“Concerned for the safety and well being of a young woman who, through no fault of her own, was stranded in Central America. Appalled because the reason for her predicament was not because she had done something wrong. Not because she was a danger to the security of the United States. But simply because she holds an Iranian passport. Though like me she was brought up in Italy, her family having moved after the Iranian Revolution when she was just two years old.
“Colleagues from the university immediately made contact with Hamaseh and we have made clear that we will do all we can to support her when she is back in Scotland, given the additional travelling costs she has incurred to navigate back to Glasgow via Spain. Just as important is to let Hamaseh and the wider world know that our university maintains and cherishes values that we will not compromise upon.
“The free movement of people, of ideas, of intellect is surely the very hallmark of civilized society. It is in the University of Glasgow’s DNA, and always has been.”
He added: “Having spoken with Hamaseh I have been hugely impressed at how she is coping with the nightmare situation in which she finds herself.
“But I have been impressed too by the huge outpouring of support that has been shown across Scotland and the UK, particularly on twitter and through direct emails that have come in to the University from people who are outraged and want to help.
“All of this, I know, has greatly touched and heartened Hamaseh. I think it also confirms what we all like to believe is true.
“In this country we value individuals for what they are and the worth they bring, not for the stamp on their passport, the colour of their skin or the religion they practise.”