President Trump’s executive order, which limits immigration and refugee admission into the United States, is prompting colleges and universities nationwide to respond to the action in defense of their students, faculty and institutional values.
The order, signed by President Trump Friday, places a 90-day ban on entry into the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Somalia.
It also indefinitely ended the country’s admittance of Syrian refugees and placed a 120-day ban on all of the United States’ refugee admissions.
According to reports, the order does not affect naturalized U.S. citizens, but does impact students, visitors and legal U.S. green-card holders.
The order has sparked discussions at institutions of higher education nationwide where more than 17,000 international students from the seven listed countries are studying, according to the latest report from the Institute of International Education.
College of the Canyons (COC), part of the California Community College system, received communication from the state chancellor’s office today, asking whether any faculty, staff or students of the college have been detained or prevented from entering the United States, according to Eric Harnish, COC’s vice president of public relations.
“We’re not aware of anyone connected to College of the Canyons that has been impacted, but it’s an area of concern that we’re continuing to monitor” Harnish said.
The concerns are at the forefront of conversations at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), where one out of every five students is international.
CalArts President Steven D. Lavine released a statement to the CalArts community Monday in support and defense of the rights of all of the institute’s students, faculty and staff.
“This executive order is deeply troubling, for it is antithetical to the principles and values that we hold dear at CalArts, and to the values upon which America was founded,” Lavine said in the statement.
The statement stressed the importance of keeping America’s higher education system open to the best students and faculty regardless of nationality and religion, as well as the significance CalArts places on its core values of diversity and inclusivity.
“Today, we stand in solidarity with many of our peer institutions who have also recognized the damage that this executive order will have on American colleges and universities.”
The university also reaffirmed its mission to recruit and welcome students, faculty and visiting artists regardless of their citizenship or country of origin, to admit students in a manner consistent with its non-discrimination policy and to foster an environment where every student can flourish.
CalArts said it is providing resources and information to those affected through its counseling services and Student Affairs Office; however, the institute did say that it informally advised its international students to not make any travel plans to leave the U.S. during the next 30 days.
“Most of all, we want to reassure our international students that they are welcomed members of the CalArts family and we will continue to work hard to ensure they are safe, secure, and well informed,” the statement read.
This is not the first time CalArts has responded to the actions of the new president. On Jan. 18 the school declared its Sanctuary Campus status out of “respect and solidarity” for its entire community, especially those “specifically targeted by political rhetoric and action.”
And following the November election, CalArts released a statement reiterating its mission to be a diverse and welcoming place for all people.
“Diversity of human experience and identity is a core value of CalArts,” Lavine said in his November statement. “We are committed to supporting all members of our community and to honoring the Institute’s values.”
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