NEW YORK—PEN American Center protests the United Arab Emirates’ decision to deny entry to New York University sociology Professor Andrew Ross, an outspoken critic of Emirati labor practices, purportedly because of security concerns.

Professor Ross, who is known for his work documenting labor abuses among the UAE’s migrant population, was about to board a plane for a research trip to the Emirates when he was prohibited from entry on orders from the UAE government. This forms part of a pattern in recent years of expulsions, visa denials, and cancellations of teaching contracts for international faculty who lose the ability to work in the UAE as a result of work or views considered unfriendly by the government. NYU has opened a new campus in the Emirates, and says it has operated there for five years with no infringements on academic freedom.

“This is a moment of truth for NYU,” said PEN American Center Executive Director Suzanne Nossel. “The university claims to insist upon academic freedom in all settings in which it operates. The banning of Professor Ross, apparently on the basis of his research and writing, appears to be a blatant violation of that freedom and should be met with firm insistence that if NYU’s operations in the Emirates are to continue, neither Professor Ross nor any other professor can be excluded just because their work is critical of the UAE government.”


Founded in 1922, PEN American Center is an association of 4,000 U.S. writers working to break down barriers to free expression worldwide.

Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director: 646-779-4810,
Sarah Edkins, Communications Manager: 646-779-4830,