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Controversial Immigrant Bill Hits Arizona B-School

Thunderbird School of Global Management falls victim to new law

By  Sarah Halls

Wed May 26 2010

Last month the state of Arizona implemented a new law requiring police to verify the immigration status of people suspected of being illegal immigrants. Campaigners opposed to the bill have voiced their concerns, saying that it will encourage racial profiling, in a state with a large Hispanic population.

The law has not just affected suspected illegal immigrants. Businesses have been affected as neighbouring city councils have voted to boycott goods from Arizona. Now it would appear the boycott has been extended to b-schools.

Steve Strasler, professor at Thunderbird School of Global Management based in Arizona, has seen several students affected by the controversial bill. Strasler had participated in a workshop in Puebla, Mexico, attended by 45 of Mexico’s eminent scientists. A follow-up program had been arranged, in which the MBA students would have interned with the scientists, but the event co-ordinator canceled the program, owing to the new immigration bill.

Speaking to the Phoenix Business Journal, Strasler said:

“While usually proud of wearing a name badge with my Thunderbird connection, I found myself embarrassed by the other element on my badge, namely, Thunderbird’s location in Arizona,” he wrote. “This is just my experience in the past week; I can only imagine how this has been replicated by others who are involved globally and nationally.”

Community Mourns Former Columbia Dean

John C. Burton passed away at 77 after suffering kidney failure. Burton, nicknamed Sandy, had a long standing relationship with the school before he was even appointed Dean of Columbia Business School from 1982 to 1988. He earned his MBA at the b-school in 1956 and six years later he gained his PhD and became a faculty member from 1962 to 2002.

His achievements in academia were mirrored in his professional life as well. In 1972, he joined the Securities and Exchange Commission as its chief accountant based in Washington DC. During a time when NYC was undergoing financial turmoil, Burton returned to his New York business roots to become the deputy mayor of finance in 1976.

He is survived by his wife, two children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.