When President Donald Trump signed the executive order limiting immigration from predominantly Muslim countries, colleges across the country responded with protests and confusion.
Trump’s order placed a moratorium on refugee admission to the country and blocked citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. With thousands of students from the impacted countries studying in the United States, many students will not return home due to the new order — and, in come cases, students who were visiting their home country when the order was signed are not able to return.
But the impact has been minimal in area colleges, due to the makeup of the student population here. With three of the five schools of higher education reporting, only one student in the Manatee-Sarasota area was reported as being potentially affected: an Iranian student at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.
New College of Florida and Manatee Technical College both reported they did not have any students from the restricted countries on their rosters. State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota did not provide the number of students they have that may be affected. Ringling College of Art and Design spokesman Rich Schineller said the school had students from all over the world, but he declined to say whether the school had any students from the seven countries, citing privacy concerns.
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And while students at USF-Tampa demonstrated Monday after USF President Judy Genshaft’s hesitancy to condemn Trump’s order — which she eventually did — spokespersons for the five schools said there had not been any demonstrations over the order.
We have been monitoring the developments out of D.C. and out of the courts and how it could impact the university and the larger USF as well.
- USFSM Spokesman Charlie Terenzio
USFSM spokesman Charlie Terenzio said USF had been tracking the evolution of the executive order, which Trump signed Friday night.
“We have been monitoring the developments out of D.C. and out of the courts and how it could impact the university and the larger USF as well,” Terenzio said. “We have sent out some messages to students and faculty and staff to let them know we are monitoring situation closely to open up lines of communication.”
Terenzio said 123 students in the USF system are impacted by the executive order, but 122 of them take classes on the Tampa campus.
In an email to the student body, USF Provost and Executive Vice President Ralph C. Wilcox encouraged students to communicate their concerns with lawmakers.
I urge you to reach out to your elected representatives (senators and congressmen/congresswomen) to share your thoughts on legislative and policy proposals emanating from our nation's capital.
- Email from USF Provost and Executive Vice President Ralph C. Wilcox
“While, collectively, we will continue our focus and discipline in executing our strategic plan, we will do so in accordance with federal and state law, while keeping a watchful eye on continuing developments,” Wilcox wrote. “Meanwhile, I urge you to reach out to your elected representatives (senators and congressmen/congresswomen) to share your thoughts on legislative and policy proposals emanating from our nation's capital.”
In a letter to prospective international students, Ringling President Larry R. Thompson assured potential students they are welcome at the school and in the country.
“Know that, despite what you may see or hear about the fallout of the election and the uncertainty and fear that has emerged — you, your perspectives, values, thoughts and beliefs are actually what make America great,” Thompson wrote.
Trump’s position on the Deferred Action for the Childhood Arrivals has also caused concern on college campuses. New College sophomore Ximena Pedroza, 19, started a petition for adminstrators to declare New College a Sanctuary Campus in December, and the USF system signed a statement of support for the DACA students last fall.