University of Iowa

In the news: Making sense of a bill in Iowa and a killing in Kansas

March 2nd, 2017
a small memorial for Srinivas Kuchibhotla is displayed outside Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kan., Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. Kuchibhotla was shot and killed at the bar Wednesday, Feb. 22 ( Photo/Olin Wagner)

a small memorial for Srinivas Kuchibhotla is displayed outside Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kan., Friday, Feb. 24, 2017. Kuchibhotla was shot and killed at the bar Wednesday, Feb. 22 ( Photo/Olin Wagner)

By H. S. Udaykumar, The Des Moines Register

These are confounding times. In the Iowa Legislature someone introduced a bill that would require universities to ask prospective faculty members which party they vote for — a political litmus test for entry into the temple of knowledge. In a Kansas bar three men were shot by an assailant; two of them were engineers of Indian origin who were winding down after a day of work. The third was a gentleman who intervened on their behalf when the perpetrator fired shots after mistaking them for "Middle Eastern guys" and exhorted them to get out of his country.

These two meteorites just crashed through the window of my consciousness. You see, I am a professor at a Midwestern university near you; I came to this country from India 30 years ago to get a Ph.D. in engineering. News of the attack on academia and on Indian-born engineers cuts doubly across my life's trajectory.  I am trying to make sense out of them, if mostly to explain them (away?) to my two half-Indian-blooded, Corn-Belt-raised, 100 percent-American-hearted, globally minded kids. Dad, what does this mean for us?

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