In the President's Message I did not mention her
name, Nalini Ghuman
, or her
academic affiliation, Mills College
, because she
felt that this was a simple misunderstanding that could be resolved quickly out of the public eye.It has now been more than eight months since the incident at the San Francisco airport, and there has been no apparent movement toward resolution.At the request of the Board of Directors I am therefore sending you the statement below, issued by Mills College
, in order to inform you more fully of her
I also ask as a matter of urgency that you consider acting on behalf of our fellow musicologist by writing directly to Ms. Jane Burt-Lynn at the U.S. Department of State
to express concern over Dr. Ghuman's
Should you write, it would help if you could send copies of your letter to Dr. Ghuman's
congressional representative, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and to Mills College
, but the most important gesture at this point would be a letter to Ms. Burt-Lynn.
I realize that this is a busy time of year, and do not lightly ask you to add another letter to your list of things to do, but I would ask you to consider Dr. Ghuman's
extraordinary situation and help her
by writing today.
In August 2006, British citizen Dr. Nalini Ghuman
was detained for 8 hours at San Francisco airport after returning from a month-long research visit to the UK.Professor Ghuman had previously held F1 student visas since September 1996 while earning a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley.She has been employed as an Assistant Professor of Music at Mills College since 2003, and was in possession of an H1B visa, issued in London, valid until 31 May 2008.
Instead of being allowed to return to her
home in Oakland to start her
fourth year at Mills
, Dr. Ghuman
visa revoked and was denied re-entry to the country where she
has lived, studied, and worked for 10 years.A distinguished music graduate of Oxford University
and of Kings College, London
, Dr. Ghuman
is completing her
book focused on the influence of India on English music in the early twentieth century.
Bay Area legislators have received dozens of letters protesting Dr Ghuman's
exclusion from the USA, and Mills College
has written to the Department of State
urging their office to correct a grave error by restoring Dr Ghuman's
visa immediately so that she
can return to her
teaching position without further loss to her
students and harm to her
career as a classical music scholar.Dr. Ghuman's
students at Mills
have already waited over eight months for her
to be allowed to return to her
teaching duties.This semester she
is teaching her
seminar on music in fin-de-siècle France via professional video-link from the University of Wales
and maintains full contact with her
students.The government action denying her
entry to the U.S. prevented her
from presenting her
professional work at the annual meeting of the American Musicological Society
in November 2006.In response to this the Board of Directors of the AMS
, the largest international association dealing with music as a branch of learning and scholarship, officially protested her
exclusion in a letter to the Department of State
Despite numerous requests from herself and from prominent legislators, Dr. Ghuman
has never received an explanation for her
exclusion from the U.S. or for the continuing delay on her
application for a replacement visa.
...Dr. Ghuman has been informed by her Member of Parliament's office that the U.S. London Embassy is convinced that mistaken identity is the issue in her case.
They state that they are, however, finding it impossible to get through to the State Department
and are frustrated by the lack of response from Washington.They have told her MP's
office to keep up their attempts to contact the State Department
, faculty members in the Music Department are bewildered by Dr. Ghuman's
exclusion from the U.S., which is keeping her
role as a passionate advocate of classical music as part of a liberal arts education.According to department head David Bernstein, Dr. Ghuman came to Mills more than three years ago with great potential as both a scholar and as a teacher.Her
continuing exclusion from the U.S. has created uncertainty in the Music Department for her
students and faculty colleagues.
...According to Mills President Janet L. Holmgren, the arbitrary and inexplicable exclusion of Dr. Ghuman has been a personal tragedy for her and a cause of distress to Mills and to American higher education.
...As a member of the American Musicological Society I am writing to you to ask your assistance in resolving a serious situation involving one of our members, Dr. Nalini Ghuman, a citizen of the United Kingdom and a professor of music at Mills College in Oakland, California.
In August 2006 Dr. Ghuman
was detained upon her
return to the United States, her
H-1B visa was revoked, and she
was forced to return to the United Kingdom.Now, over eight months later, she
is still in the United Kingdom, away from her
job and her
home, and has as yet received no explanation for our government's actions.We in the AMS
find this situation quite alarming, and fervently hope that it can be resolved as soon as possible.Dr. Ghuman
applied for a new H-1B visa over six months ago.Any assistance that you can provide in expediting the processing of her
visa application by the Department of State
would be deeply appreciated.
Thank you very much for your efforts on behalf of Dr. Ghuman
students, family, friends, and colleagues.