Universities Must Take A Stand Against Trump's Travel Ban

Universities Must Take A Stand Against Trump's Travel Ban

What does it say about us as a country if we discount an entire group of people because of their religion?

Before we begin, I feel as though I need to issue a disclaimer: this article was written through the lens of a white woman raised in the upper middle class, who gathered her own opinions and became a left-wing, independent liberal feminist who strongly, passionately, and deeply protested Trump's campaign and cried on the day of the election. I have so many thoughts, feelings, and fears regarding Trump's presidency, not only for myself as a woman, but for my fellow Americans who don't carry the same privilege I do. I won't apologize for that, and I will continue to fiercely defend what I believe in.

Now for the fun stuff: I am a college student who comes from Massachusetts, a state which has been reliably Democratic since 1928, but has voted for four Republicans since then, but goes to school in Ohio, a notorious battleground state. And without getting into too much detail about the presidential election, the two candidates were on two completely opposite sides of the battlefield with their policies and beliefs. It's February, a month into Trump's presidency, and I already have been horrified.

Trump's Travel Ban can be summarized (in an unbiased way!) as follows: Trump signed an executive order which kept refugees from entering the country for 120 days and travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries for three months. This travel ban has been determined to be illegal, most importantly by federal judges. It all played into Trump's campaign promise of instating a Muslim ban, a blanket term which prevents Muslims from entering the country. You probably remember hearing about this travel ban 24 hours a day for an entire weekend—lawyers were working pro bono, sitting on the ground in airports, fighting for those who shouldn't be barred from the country because of their religion (which, by the way, is in the Constitution).

So, what role do college and universities play in situations like these? Why is it so important that universities take a stand against proposed the Muslim bans or any executive order which in some way strips rights from their students?

First of all, because universities cannot claim to be working towards diversity and inclusion if they support a ban which makes those they are trying to include feel unsafe in their country. Many, many groups of people have already felt unsafe in America after Trump was elected - hate crimes in America increased after the election. Universities must protect their international students, who come to America with no family or support system and are already struggling, without adding hatred and possible safety issues into the mix. Also, universities themselves play a pivotal role in the future of this country—quite literally, educating the minds of the future. What does that say about us as a country if we discount an entire group of people because of their religion, which had been twisted, decimated and removed from its truth by the media, by politicians, and those who are so afraid of difference that they cannot accept anyone who is different from themselves? There are radical terrorists in every religion, but those who practice Christianity or Catholicism are not called terrorists in this country—they're called mentally ill.

Additionally, universities would suffer immensely with the travel ban in place. The travel ban would threaten the visa status of students and professors, disrupt research exchanges (which, as someone who works in research knows, research exchanges are what lead to breakthroughs in the first place), and threatened international conferences. Universities who don't fight against the travel ban open themselves up to losing funding all over the place. Many institutions receive a lot of money from students and research, and universities are businesses. Even if they didn't care about people at all, completely focused on making money, they would suffer under the travel ban. That's something that the fiscally conservative Republicans who praised Trump could even get behind.

I am proud to be at a university which stood up for those affected by the travel ban and renounced it in its entirety. That's despite the attack our campus experienced this fall, where many people came out of the woodwork to reinforce the idea of a Muslim ban. Furthermore, I am proud to be able to say that nearly every college and university came out and denounced the order. But the fight isn't over.

Trump's administration plans to issue another order similar, and we must continue to fight. Universities must continue to fight, and its students who, like myself, are privileged, must use our privilege to stick up for those who don't have a voice in Trump's America. This will be a long and exhausting four years, but we'll be damned if we aren't going to stick up for what we believe in.

Cover Image Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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My Personal Political Photo Response

The image I chose to represent injustice was an image I personally took at a rally at the University of Evansville this past January.

The image I chose to represent injustice was an image I personally took at a rally at the University of Evansville this past January. The rally was held by the university and the open-invite event welcomed various religious leaders within the city.

The Interfaith Rally of Support was in direct response to President Donald Trump’s proposed ban on refugees. Approximately 580 people gathered in the gardens of the university on a brisk, wintery cold January evening to stand up against hate, bigotry, and the recent executive orders of President Trump against refugees. There were many donations that were accepted and were sent to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States.” It was stated to women to feel free to wear a Hijab in solidarity with our Islamic friends and simultaneously to feel free to bring signs with messages of peace, love, and support for inclusion. I have included not only an image of a certain poster that another person brought, but I have also included an image of my friend and I holding up a sign at the rally. It may be hard to visualize, but the poster that I wanted to mock this assignment off states “Build no walls to keep out others, but build a circle of love to take them in.”

To give a little context, President Donald Trump on Friday, January 27, 2017, banned nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for at least the next ninety days by executive order. The order bars all people hailing from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. Those countries were named in a 2016 law concerning immigration visas as "countries of concern." The executive order also bans entry of those fleeing from war-torn Syria indefinitely. Trump also had stopped the admission of all refugees to the United States for four months. The order also calls for a review into suspending the Visa Interview Waiver Program, which allows travelers from 38 countries -- including close allies -- to renew travel authorizations without an in-person interview. Not only did this executive order drastically affect many families here in the United States, but it affected people in my small town of Evansville, IN.

I graduated from a charter school, specifically Signature School, and the diversity ratio was very progressive and differed greatly from all of the public schools around my country. At our school, 52% of the school was considered to be of white/non-Hispanic descent while the remaining 48% of the school was multi-racial. We were very proud of those statistics, right among being ranked the third most-challenging high school in the nation.

Regardless, this hit home for all of us at Signature because we would hear about many families not being able to come over to the United States deriving from those countries banned as stated above. As a school, we came together to attend the Interfaith Rally of Support and actively protested the ban by sending letters to our local congressmen. As a city, the mayor of Evansville openly spoke out against the travel ban once all of the universities and colleges released a statement condemning President Trump’s actions and orders.

This image makes me fill up with potential prosperity because it was amazing to witness the drastic out-pouring disgrace with the President’s travel ban. Not only was I in fear of being in the minority in regards to disagreeing with the ban on refugees, but I had the presumption that as conservative as Evansville was, I was fearing the approval of this ban. I was so thrilled to hear that wasn’t the case! As for my family, however, they went the opposite way in responding with potential optimistic viewpoints.

My parents were both in full support of having a non-politician, orange buffoon as our commander-in-chief. Not only did this travel ban come to the dinner table harshly, but it definitely drew a line in the sand metaphorically in regards to our political opinions and beliefs. I have been very opposed to my parent’s personal viewpoints on President Trump, but that not only put fuel on the fire, but it caused my whole family to take their opinions to Facebook turning that into a global war.

I just couldn’t personally understand how someone so powerful can make a decision on banning people from the country that has "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore" on a 150-foot statue in the most popular harbor within the United States.

It is just as if the President disregarded the symbolic significance of that and became a tyrannical leader banning a certain demographic background, on the basis of racism. As if the laws here in the United States aren’t challenging enough for outside immigrants to flee to the United States in search for prosperous guidance, but to reside in the “land of the free and home of the brave.”

I saw families are torn because their family in the middle eastern countries were being blocked by the United States government – the country built on the notion of accessing a better life and the American “dream.”

When asked about my personal relationship with this, I can only respond with the fact on how diverse of a friend group I have. That may sound very pretentious, but I only applaud myself for being so open and accepting of other people and their beliefs. It may seem insignificant, but being open to diversity isn’t something that is widely accepted. The whole fact that President Trump, a borderline racist man, got the most powerful position in the world by the electoral college here in the United States is proof enough for the statement just made.

Being apart of the majority population here in the United States, it does take something to just being able to speak up for the racism and belittling of the minority population in the United States. I can infer that me going to Signature School has widely adopted me to be able to see past certain obstacles and strictly focus on the beneficial factors of loving one another.

In summation, not only did the Interfaith Rally of Support affect me on a personal level, but it also had an impact on my political beliefs. At the beginning of Donald Trump’s bid for the office, the things he spoke hit me on a personal level because I thought, at the time, that not having an actual politician would be beneficial to the oversight bureaucratic slang. After seeing the two candidates up close the months before the election, it was clear to me that having someone with absolutely no political background and such boisterous discriminatory comments would be awful for the United States.

Being encompassed in the rally by many liberals who can see straight through President Trump’s lies, corruption and propaganda.

Cover Image Credit: Scott Brenner / Flickr

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Dear 'Feminists,' Stop Degrading Melania Trump

If you truly believe in supporting other women, then support all women.

Every so-called “feminist” lashes out, and tears down the Trump women every chance they get. From criticizing Melania for her choice of shoes to critiquing her parenting style, women seemly have disowned the Trumps. Why? Because they don’t agree with them.

People, mainly left-wing feminists, exclude Republican women. Women should always support other women unless it is a Republican woman. Republican women are seen as “brainwashed,” privileged, out of touch, ignorant and even anti-women. When in reality, we Republican women just have different opinions and different morals.

Melania Trump came to the United States legally, working in New York as a model. She was born in Yugoslavia, which is modern-day Novo Mesto, Slovenia. She obtained her green card to live here permanently through the EB-1 program. She is fluent in Slovenian, English, French, Serbian, German languages and Italian. As well as being First Lady and a professional model, she has launched a jewelry and skincare line and co-hosted on "The View."

Our First Lady is a textbook example of what the American Dream looks like. She is a self-made businesswoman who is raising an equally intelligent son while succeeding at her job as First Lady.

And let's be honest, she still looks good while doing so.

Feminists claim to be pro-women, pro-immigration, and pro-female entrepreneurship. Melania checks every single one of those boxes. Yet, they tear her down every chance they get.

I wonder if these feminists are really only pro-liberal women?

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