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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Hawk Hill responds to executive orders

Photo+by+Luke+Malanga+20
Photo by Luke Malanga ’20

President Donald Trump signed an executive order blocking citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States for 90 days. Anyone traveling from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia to the U.S. will be barred from entering the country. The executive order also indefinitely suspends Syrian refugees from entering the country.

Photo by Luke Malanga ’20

Students, staff, and faculty have been reacting across Hawk Hill since the news broke, and a campus march, SJU March for All, was planned by students and held on Jan. 31 with about 300 people in attendance. Saint Joseph’s University came together and marched from the “Synagoga and Ecclesiain Our Time” statue in front of the Chapel of Saint Joseph to the St. Ignatius statue in front of Merion Hall.

Niki VanAller, ’17, was one of the students who began the conversation about having a march on campus. VanAller was one of the many faculty and students who spoke at the march.

“It is against our community values at St. Joe’s,” VanAller said. “Categorically there is no way around it – we need to be welcoming to all people.”

Another student who was at the forefront of the planning was Peter Ferris, ’18.

“We decided that we are not going to try and make any particular big statement or anything,” Ferris said. “All we are trying to do really is stand in solidarity with immigrants and refugees, especially in the spirit of the values at St. Joe’s.”

According to VanAller, the organizers reached out to everyone with a positive message.

Photo by Luke Malanga ’20

“We are not trying to be anti-ban or anti-Trump; it is more of a message of pro-immigrant. We stand with others,” VanAller said. “That is the impetus behind it. We are meant to have inclusivity whether it is faithbased or values-based. It is a moral thing.”

After news spread of President Trump’s executive order, St. Joe’s administration released two statements, one by Cary Anderson, Ed.D., vice president for Student Life and Associate Provost and one by Jeanne F. Brady Ph.D., Provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

“We are proud that Saint Joseph’s is home to students, staff, and scholars from around the world,” Anderson wrote. “Their presence enriches our university in countless ways.”

Provost Brady’s statement addressed safety and other issues.

Photo by Sam Henry ’19

“Our mandate as an educational institution is simple: To maintain the privacy, dignity and safety of our community, particularly our students, so that they may pursue an education in an environment that nurtures and protects them,” Brady wrote.

Brady emphasized that requests to the university to provide protected information about students or employees should be directed to the Registrar or the Office of Human Resources, respectively.

According to faculty senate president Ann Green, Ph.D., professor of English there is anger and fear among faculty, which has promoted faculty senate to take action.

“Some of the faculty have been working on a resolution regarding immigrant and, refugee statuses among students and [the executive order] has given that resolution additional urgency,” Green said. “It was of concern before the executive order, the executive order has pushed us harder, it has more exigence right now than it has before.”

Photo by Luke Malanga ’20

If approved by the faculty senate, the resolution will be made public by the end of February. Green does not plan to release any statements until additional actions are taken.

University President Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., wrote in an emailed comment to The Hawk that the University issued two internal statements to emphasize the value that international members bring to the St. Joe’s community.

“These statements, as well as other external statements issued in the fall regarding undocumented students, directly reflect our mission to safeguard the dignity of all human beings, especially those within our own community,” Reed wrote.

St. Joe’s Campus Ministry marched along with VanAller’s group in support of immigrants and refugees at the SJU March for All.

Photo by Sam Henry ’19

“Campus Ministry takes a position of the Gospel and Catholic Social Teaching and so, standing for human dignity and the rights of all people is a very foundational part of that,” said Tom Sheibley Director of Campus Ministry. “I would echo the words of Pope Francis, who said [that] hypocrisy to call yourself a Christian and chase away a refugee. We definitely just would want our students to here in particular who are marginalized in any way or are from other countries to know they are welcome here and we are here to support them.”

Umeyye Isra Yazicioglu, Ph.D., associate professor for theology & religious studies, was one of the faculty speakers at the march. She emphasized that she was there as a human being and that she was grateful for everyone came out to support.

“I am a Muslim,” Yazicioglu said. “I am an immigrant. I came at a time of religious persecution back home and I found a home here and I am forever grateful.”

Photo by Luke Malanga ’20

Sheibley emphasized that while the administration has made previous statements, it is important to know how Muslim students on our campus are feeling and if they feel enough has been said.

“I’ve been scared ever since [Trump won],” Tareq Alsaad, ’20, said. “Scared of being discriminated against, scared of being forced to leave this country. I usually don’t let bad things that people say about Muslims get to me, but it’s getting too much for me. I go to bed every night thinking about this.”

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