Herbst asks for committee to explore effects of Trump travel ban

Susan Herbst announced she would advocate for a committee that explores how President Trump's ban on immigration will affect UConn students and faculty. (File photo/The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut’s President announced Saturday night that she advocated for the creation a committee exploring how UConn students and faculty will be affected by President Donald Trump’s temporary bar on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

“Following Friday’s executive order, I have asked our Vice President for Global Affairs, Daniel Weiner, to assemble a working group to determine what the implications of this order are for our international students and faculty, and offer them as much information and guidance as we are able to during this uncertain time,” UConn President Susan Herbst wrote in an email sent to the student body.

UConn’s international students represent 109 countries, Herbst wrote. UConn has over 1,400 undergraduate international students and about a quarter of its graduate students are international students. UConn has faculty members from other nations and is always hosting visiting scholars.

The executive order (https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/25/executive-order-border-security-and-immigration-enforcement-improvements) suspends refugee admissions to the United States for 120 days and prevents citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days.

The order kicked off a tumultuous weekend of protests and lawsuits. A Brooklyn judge issued an injunction Saturday night barring officials from deporting those who were detained. Sunday morning the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security announced that people from the seven countries with valid U.S. green cards would not be prevented from reentering the U.S.

Trump issued a statement late Sunday in defense of the order, stating that the seven affected countries were those previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror.

“To be clear, this is not a Muslim ban, as the media is falsely reporting,” the statement said. “This is not about religion—this is about terror and keeping our country safe.”

The order took criticism from prominent Democrats and Republicans, including Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the order “mean-spirited” and “un-American.”

In an email to UConn’s School of Engineering, the school’s dean Kazem Kazerounian said UConn was committed to diversity and offered to support affected students through difficult times.

“To the best of my knowledge, the recent executive order closing the nation's borders to citizens of certain countries has not directly affected any of you.  However, it impacts our entire community in very real ways,” Kazerounian wrote. “Many of our faculty and graduate students are the best and brightest from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and Americas, including from areas subject to the visa bans.  As President Herbst wrote in her message to the university community, this diversity has made us the superb school we are."


Christopher McDermott is the news editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at christopher.mcdermott@uconn.edu.