Many non-American students come to America in the hope of good education and support from their academic advisors.

How should anyone handle discrimination based on national origin by American professors if such a situation arises in the future?

How do universities take care of these situations, and do they treat non-American students and the American professors equally under the law?

  • 5
    What kind of discrimination? Is this an actual situation you are facing (in which case, please add some more details), or are you asking what resources / avenues are available if such a situation were to arise?
    – GoodDeeds
    Sep 22, 2020 at 12:04
  • 1
    @GoodDeeds, have a look now. Sep 22, 2020 at 12:13
  • 3
    Some discrimination based on national origin is completely legal, such as funding sources that are only available to domestic students, or projects restricted for national security reasons. Anti-discrimination laws and policies do apply to categories that are correlated with national origins, though, such as race and religion. It's not clear what form of discrimination you are talking about.
    – Bryan Krause
    Sep 22, 2020 at 15:34
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    @shoover Exactly such an "on-topic", specific question was locked and closed just today, out of fear that the details in it could harm the people doing the discrimination.
    – knzhou
    Sep 22, 2020 at 22:55
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    @GoodDeeds Indeed. The argument there is that specific allegations of discrimination are not useful to discuss. It's amusingly the exact opposite of the argument given to close this question -- that a general question about discrimination is not useful to discuss either. By putting the two together, you get a clear picture of what power users here believe it's useful to discuss: only what they personally want to hear.
    – knzhou
    Sep 22, 2020 at 23:00

1 Answer 1


If you're talking about classes, you can appeal in the usual ways.

It doesn't sound like you're talking about classes though, which makes it tough. If it's a bias / microaggression type situation your best bet is avoidance - find a new advisor. Quietly tell people who could be in the same situation (especially if you have an international student organization) that the professor is a problem. Be polite and professional and if anyone you don't completely trust asks about it, explain it was a personality conflict.

If it's a more serious issue, you should document it to the best of your ability and then bring it to a tenured professor in the department that you trust and ask for advice. However, in the absence of corroborating complaints from other students the likelihood of any real action being taken is minimal.

Escalating to HR is not advisable - HR minimizes legal risk to the university, but the minimum legal risk is usually telling you to take a semester leave of absence and then refusing to sign your I20.

The international student & visa situation in the US is very prone to abuse and you have very, very little leverage to fight back. It isn't impossible, but it isn't easy and even if successful you're likely to help future students but end up hurting yourself.

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