Tell your university not to promote discriminatory exchange programs!

The International Health Section, together with the HIV/AIDS and Disability Sections, the Human Rights Forum and the [LGBT Caucus of Public Health Professionals? contacted], is launching an advocacy campaign to make sure that any programs hosted by the Republic of Korea (ROK, usually referred to as South Korea) government that discriminate against persons living with HIV (PLWH) are not advertised or endorsed by their members’ universities or academic institutions. ROK requires foreign non-ethnic Koreans entering under certain programs to declare that they are not HIV-infected and to submit to a mandatory HIV test. If the person tests positive for HIV, their visa can be revoked, with then forces them to leave the country. You can read more about this issue here, here, and here.

APHA’s Governing Council passed a late-breaker policy specific to ROK in 2015 and a permanent policy against HIV-related immigration restrictions at this year’s Annual Meeting. Now it is time to act on those policies.

Many American universities advertise Korean government programs that openly state that HIV-infected applicants are not eligible. These programs include the Korean Government Scholarship Program, the English Program in Korea (EPIK), and Teach and Learn in Korea (TaLK). Not only are these programs openly discriminatory, they may also run afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, advocates have had some success in getting these universities to stop advertising the programs:

The goals of this project are to (a) figure out which universities advertise these discriminatory programs, (b) contact these institutions to ask them to remove information about the programs, and (c) document whether they do or don’t.

If you study or work at a university, we need your help! Find out if your university advertises EPIK, TaLK, or the Korean Government Scholarship Program – your university’s study abroad and Asian studies departments are great places to look. If you find information on these programs posted, here are some things you can do:

  1. Document it here.
  2. Ask the department to take it down. You can adapt this language to use in your e-mail.
  3. Write a letter to your school newspaper – and be sure to send us the link!