US universities are generally very safe places: Embassy Officials

On Tuesday, Donald Heflin, Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs at the US Embassy in India, said that many parents have asked about the safety of American universities.

ANIUpdated: Tuesday, June 07, 2022, 06:32 PM IST
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Delhi: Officials from the US embassy in New Delhi responded to concerns over escalating gun violence in America by saying that the institutions are entirely safe for students.

On Tuesday, Donald Heflin, Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs at the US Embassy in India, said that many parents have asked about the safety of American universities.

"US universities are generally very safe places. They usually have their own police force and have strong controls on who enters residential or instructional buildings. Unfortunately, most of these events have been happening at primary and secondary schools and it's just tragic," Donald Heflin asserted.

Echoing similar sentiments Counselor for Cultural and Educational Affairs Anthony Miranda said that universities share those same concerns.

"They want to ensure that the students who choose to attend that university are safe so that they can concentrate on their studies and also their extracurricular activities," Miranda said.

Miranda, speaking about university safeguards for student safety, noted that colleges have developed a number of procedures and programs to guarantee that their campuses are safe, including ensuring that people have visible IDs at all times. He went on to say more about blue light phone booths.

"These are phone booths that can be scattered throughout a university that connects directly to the police."

"There are also student-led organizations that ensure that there is always someone who could walk you home to also facilitate safety," Miranda elaborated further.

The United States recently witnessed a horrifying mass shooting that occurred at an elementary school in Texas on May 24.

Talking about the Visa issuance for Indian students, Heflin said: "In the end, we'll have opened over 100,000 appointments this year. The demand is really strong. I'm very hopeful that every student who wants an appointment will be able to get one."

"We basically missed the entire year of 2020 due to shutdowns here in India. And then we got back on our feet at Christmas time that year and had a big student visa season last year. This year is going to be our biggest ever. We have a lot of demand. So we're trying to answer that by opening a lot of interview slots," the Minister Counselor for Consular Affairs elaborated.

US Charge d'Affaires Patricia Lacina, Embassy of the US to India also said: "Indians are the second-largest group of international students in the US. We've opened tens of thousands of visa appointments and expanded our interview waiver options for students under new visa guidelines."

The sixth annual Student Visa Day was held by the US Mission in India. Over 2,500 Indian student visa applications were interviewed by consular officers at the US Embassy in New Delhi and the Consulates General in Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and Mumbai.

Student Visa Day honors the relationship between the United States and India in higher education. More than 200,000 Indian students are enrolled in US academic institutions this year, accounting for more than 20% of all overseas students in the US.

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