Last Friday, the President signed an executive order temporarily banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States. The order immediately created chaos at many of the nation’s airports, including O’Hare, where large numbers of protesters voiced their anger as confused border patrol agents detained over a dozen people, some of whom were legal permanent U.S. residents. The order perpetuates an us vs. them narrative, one that paints Muslims as “dangerous individuals” that shouldn’t be allowed into this country. The University was not unscathed. For example, an Iranian speaker from McGill was forced to cancel a lecture on political theory and a sociology graduate student from Iran discovered that she may not be able to return to Hyde Park to continue her studies and teach a core class in the spring. Students from a few of those countries have spoken up about how the order has made them feel unwelcome and how it has created uncertainty for them and their families.
While we generally avoid commenting on national issues, we believe that the President’s order significantly harms many of our fellow students and faculty on campus who are nationals of majority-Muslim nations, and because we do not want to normalize a presidential order that is grounded in prejudice, we condemn President Trump’s executive order and encourage both the administration and the student body to continue to vocalize their disapproval as similar instances arise in the future.
There will continue to be occasions in the next four years when political actions will threaten core values of our university and the well-being of students. Whether or not you think the University was explicit enough in its critique of the executive order, the administration should at least be lauded for responding quickly with its letter to President Trump and taking a bolder stance on a political issue than it has in the past.
As students, we don’t have the voice of the administration, but we do have the power to use our education as a tool against bigotry and discrimination. We are uniquely positioned to organize and demonstrate. There are different ways to do this: protesting, donating time and resources to volunteer organizations, supporting those affected, calling your representatives to state your opposition, and standing up against discrimination on campus. We should never normalize or forget the insular, bigoted vision of America put forward by President Trump and his allies. Instead, we all must speak up and hold those in power accountable for the policies they enact.
—The Maroon Editorial Board