Spain's troop withdrawal affects U.S. study abroad programs
MISSION VIEJO, Calif. (AP) — Two community colleges have ended their study-abroad program in Spain, citing the country's troop withdrawal from Iraq.
Trustees of the South Orange County Community College District, comprising Irvine Valley College and Saddleback College, voted 5-2 last week to cancel the 14-year-old summer program.
"Spain has abandoned our fighting men and women, withdrawing their support," said trustee Tom Fuentes, a former head of the Republican Party in Orange County. "I see no reason to send students of our colleges to Spain at this moment in history."
Spain pulled its 1,300 troops after the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people in March last year.
Fuentes said the bombing also raised concerns about student safety, although students were allowed to visit Spain three months after the bombings.
"Bringing this up now is strange," said trustee Marcia Milchiker, who voted to keep the program.
"I'm still in shock," said Professor Carmenmara Hernandez-Bravo, who runs the study abroad program. "I cannot believe a community college can put this much politics into academics."