On Feb. 8, in the Angell College Center Ballrooms, there was an open discussion that quickly veered to President Donald Trump’s new executive order. It was hosted by the Division of Student Affairs. There was no agenda, and it was an opportunity to speak about current events happening on a national and worldwide scale.
Trump signed Executive Order 13769, titled Protecting the Nation from Terrorist entry into the United States by Foreign Nationals. The order was issued on Jan. 19, 2017, and it placed a travel ban on seven countries. The countries are Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The majority of the countries being Muslim caused controversy, as well as raised concerns for several students on campus who might be affected by the ban. Bryan Hartman from student services opened the floor with ground rules to make an open and safe environment for everyone in attendance.
A PSUC student started off the discussion saying she “felt disgust when she heard of the executive order.”
“This is history repeating itself. This is not the first time a group has been targeted because of their religious beliefs,” she said.
She also added how in this time in history, students and communities in whole need to become allies. Meaning as a college campus, we should unite for mutual benefit concerning recent events.
“During this administration, it’s time for us to get our hands dirty, we can’t be solem,” said PSUC student Antoine Clark, “ This no surprise, he ran on this campaign, at this point we cannot grow weary.”
Then a student asked if they would personally get affected due to the fact that they had a dual citizenship. from the Assistant Director of the Global Education Office Amelia Lushia answered his question with what she knew about the executive order at the time. In a post forum interview, she elaborated further on the subject.
“It depends on the documents presented to customs and border patrol.”
“They then make the decision,” she said. Lushia went on to say that travelers are being treated by the documents they present, yet if they are from one of the seven countries they are allowed back into the United States if their visa is valid . Lushia is extremely accessible to students on campus and implores anyone who is concerned to reach out to her and the Global department for help with questions.
“Its disheartening to hear another student worried about going home,” a PSUC student Vrinda Kumar said, as she made a point about housing for international students whom share the burden of going to their countries at this time.
“Can housing be provided for them at a discounted rate or no rate at all because if we are not allowed to go and come back it’s unfair that we are expected to house ourselves in a country that doesn’t want to house us,” Kumar said.
Her question about housing or what can be done for the students who could be affected was then answered by Bryan Hartman from student services.
“We will support students that need the support and work with individuals on a case by case basis. No student will be turned away,” Although this school is not considered a sanctuary campus in the SUNY system it does have resources set in place to help students who need it.
“We as an institution have identified money to assist students who find themselves in an emergency or crisis situation.” Hartman said in a post forum interview, also reassuring that the school will not turn any student away if they are affected by the ban.
“I understand that the president is trying to make the country great again, but this is not the way, banning a specific group of people won’t make anything better I don’t support the executive order as an immigrant myself,” Santeena Bantin a political science and criminal justice major said. She also supported the idea of being allied on campus and will stand with any international student who is being affected.
“It is the first step in trying to take precautions to protect American lives,” said Eric Paige a management and marketing major. He agreed with the order and said some improvements can be made such as adding another country that has affected the United States.
The forum was a good starting ground for intellectual conversations about politics on this campus. Student may disagree with one another, but both sides need to be heard and a forum like this is a great place to do it.
Email Whitney Leonardo at firstname.lastname@example.org