GPSC condemns Trump’s travel ban

By Alex Howell

Graduate and Professional Student Council leaders released a statement Thursday condemning President Donald Trump’s executive order that temporarily bans travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The statement calls on university administrators to implement special support services for those directly affected by the president’s executive order, including additional counseling services for those directly affected and a partnership with international students. It also asks interim Chancellor Brad Colwell to clarify the measures the university will take to protect its international students in response to a statement he made in January.

GPSC executives cited examples of other universities that have publicly indicated their campus police will not partner with federal, state or municipal law enforcement agencies or otherwise detain international students based on their immigrant status unless required by law. In the statement, they ask if SIU would do the same.


The order, signed by the president during his first week in office, sparked protests around the country as some citizens of foreign nations were detained at international airports.

It received widespread condemnation by those who contend the order is discriminatory on the basis of religion, race and nationality. The restrictions are more lax for practicing members of the minority religion in Yemen, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia and Libya. 

Trump promptly fired former Attorney General Sally Yates on Monday for refusing to enforce the ban, but the administration announced Thursday it would ease restrictions for those with so-called green cards.

On Tuesday, Trump press secretary Sean Spicer said the so-called travel ban is not a ban at all. He said the executive order is a newly introduced process of “extreme vetting” and blamed the press for its categorization, despite the numerous instances the president used the word “ban” to describe it.

In their statement to the campus community, GPSC leaders say they “cannot, in good conscience, remain silent when so many of our constituents are negatively affected by this executive order.”

In fall 2016, international students made up 27 percent of those enrolled in graduate programs at the university. By contrast, international student enrollment in the undergraduate student body comprised roughly 4 percent of the university’s 12,800 undergraduate students.

The stance taken by the council’s executive committee reflects that of its parent organization, the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students. The national organization released its statement Sunday, calling the president’s executive order “morally wrong and detrimental to U.S. interests.”


Staff writer Alex Howell can be reached at 618-536-3326, a[email protected] or on Twitter @ahowellde.

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