The government of a host country has the right to declare a member of another nation’s visiting diplomatic mission to be persona non grata. This means the individual is unacceptable to the host nation. When a person is declared persona non grata, the home country usually calls the individual home rather than allow him or her to remain in the host country. However, persona non grata is not limited to unwanted diplomats and is now being used by colleges.
The effect of declaring a member of a diplomatic mission persona non grata
If a member of the staff of a diplomatic mission remains in a country that has declared that person to be persona non grata, the individual loses the protections usually granted to a foreign diplomat. For example, immunity from being held for violations of the civil and criminal laws of the host country does not apply to someone declared to be persona non grata.
A member of a diplomatic mission who violates the law of the host nation cannot be prosecuted or held accountable due to his or her diplomatic status. The host nation can use a declaration of persona non grata to demonstrate its displeasure over the individual’s activities. The declaration has also been used against diplomats or members of a diplomatic staff who are suspected of spying.
The response of a country to having one of its diplomats declared to be persona non grata is usually to order the person to return home. It is common for the declaration of persona non grata by one country to result in a retaliatory declaration against one of its diplomats by the nation whose diplomat had just been recalled.
Use of persona non grata by colleges
The term persona non grata can also be applied to any situation in which someone is rejected by a group from whom the person obtained or sought acceptance. State laws permit colleges and universities to regulate the use of their campus facilities. One method for doing this is a process that exists at many schools around the country for declaring someone to be persona non grata.
Behavior on the part of individuals that administrators deem to be detrimental to the institution may result in the person being barred from all or some of the school’s facilities. This is accomplished by issuing a notification declaring the person to be persona non grata.
Some schools limit the declaration to campus visitors who are not current students, faculty or administrators who are subject to other forms of disciplinary procedures while other institutions apply the designation to anyone on the premises of the college or university. Someone declared to be persona non grata is subject to being asked to leave the campus. A refusal to leave can result in the individual’s arrest on criminal trespass charges.
Written notification of persona non grata is to prevent someone from claiming to be unaware that he or she is banned from or only granted limited access to campus facilities. Someone issued a persona non grata notification should speak to an attorney to have a clear understanding of the scope of the restrictions.