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College responds to Trump’s immigration ban

Amidst uncertainty, the college administration responds to President Donald Trump’s recent executive order and prepares for future changes to immigration laws.

Carleton has 200 international students on F1 Visas, one of whom is from one of the seven countries affected by the temporary travel ban that is outlined in the executive order. The administration does not know if any student is a dual citizen of a temporarily banned country. It is unclear what effect the executive order may have on dual citizens.

In response to the order, the Office of Intercultural and International Life (OIIL) sent out an email to all international students, recommending that they limit travel outside the United States. The email also asked F1-visa students, who are currently abroad, to tell OIIL their plans for return to Carleton as soon as possible and to prepare for additional questioning when they return to the United States.

“We have been having individual conversations with students if they have concerns. It is not necessarily just concern for themselves. It’s a concern for their families,” OIIL director Joy Kluttz said.

Kluttz emphasized the uncertainty that comes with the Executive order. “We’re just like everyone else. We just don’t know. We’re school officials. We’re not a government agency, so we learn at the same time as everyone else is learning it,” she said. “We’re responding in the best way that we can.”

As the executive order evolves, “OIIL is doing our best to offer support to students who may be impacted by these changes, we will be in tune to the policies or actions that are enacted and we will be updating students on how they may impact them, as we know,” she said.

No current students are abroad in any of the seven countries listed in the executive order. However, Off-Campus Studies (OCS) is working with students who have expressed concerns about traveling outside of the United States due to their visa or immigration status, according to OCS Assistant Director Naomi Ziegler.

“We are watching the situation as it unfolds and assisting students as we can,” said OCS Director Helena Kaufman.

Admissions has no plans to change to its process for accepting international students, according to Charlie Cogan ’82, director of international recruitment.

“We will continue to read applications as we normally do,” he said. “Decisions don’t come out until March, and the executive order is currently being challenged in the courts. With this uncertain situation, we are not changing what we’re doing.”

Speaking more generally, he said, “We have always valued that our campus has students from a lot of different countries. After 9/11, we experienced some delays with students’ paperwork, but we have and will continue to accept these kids. They are kids that we would want to have in the United States.”

The student from one of the countries affected by the temporary travel ban declined to comment for this article.

To show support for those affected by the executive order, the Muslim Students Association, Office of the Chaplain and CCCE director Amel Gorani are hosting a public dinner at the First United Church of Christ tonight.

“Often, it’s easy at Carleton to forget or not work as closely with members of the community,” said Ibad Jafri ’17, a chaplain’s associate and a member of the Muslim Students Association. “There are more people affected than we realize. Through this dinner, we hope to broaden our reach and to make ourselves available to our neighbors, not just in a religious sense but also in a civic sense.”

Since President Trump signed the order, “the college administration has made themselves very available to us. They have shown their support, and that means a lot,” he said.

Three days after Trump signed the executive order, President Steve Poskanzer sent out an all-campus email, denouncing the order, clarifying that the college will not release students’ immigration status unless required to do so by law and explaining that the administration is working with the college’s attorneys and national higher education organizations to monitor and to better understand the order.

As the executive order is battled in the courts, “the situation is highly fluid, and it is not clear how and when these disputes will be resolved,” the said. “It is difficult to deal with this sense of shock and disruption, and I share the concerns that these circumstances have engendered.”

Poskanzer’s email emphasized that the college will continue to monitor the order as it faces legal battles and in the event that the Trump administration changes immigration laws further.

Poskanzer declined to comment for this article, explaining that he was out of town and deferring all comments to Dean Carolyn Livingston.

“It was an executive order that wasn’t very inclusive and is sort of antithetical to who we are as an institution,” said Livingston.
She went on to say that “the memo that went out from the president expressed that we’re going to support our students who may be impacted by this and the ways in which we can do it.”

Last Friday, the college signed onto an American Council on Higher Education letter that is addressed to the Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and that expresses concerns about the executive order.

The college typical refrains from making political statements in an effort to ensure academic freedom. For instance, in mid-January, the college declined to sign onto a letter that asked Congress and the President to recognize climate change as a scientific and global danger. Over 230 U.S. colleges and universities signed the letter, which was written by the non-profit Second Nature.

However, Poskanzer made a statement about the executive order because “this is more about students being directly impacted and needing the reassurance that we are there to support them,” according to Livingston. “We want to make sure we’re always behind the people at this college.”

The day after Poskanzer’s email, CSA president Tiffany Thet ’17, CSA vice president Abha Laddha ’17 and CSA treasurer Jeremy Keane ’17 released a statement agreeing with Poskanzer’s email, denouncing the executive order and emphasizing the college’s values.

“The executive order’s, amongst many others, blatant discriminatory nature and endangerment of people is the antithesis of what the CSA executive team stands for,” they said in the email.

In response to Poskanzer’s initial email, an anonymous sender wrote a letter addressed to Poskanzer and sent it to the entire campus. The letter criticized Carleton’s response to the executive order. The sender did not reply to requests for an interview.

Livingston said the college has no plans to address this anonymous letter because the administration likes to respond to students directly and does not know who the sender is.

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