Rochester Institute of Technology’s Student Government passed a resolution 23 to 1 on Friday in support of students, faculty and staff from seven countries whose citizens have temporarily been restricted from entering the United States by executive order of President Donald Trump on Jan. 27.
RIT has 45 students from the seven countries— Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. “We urge RIT to actively support those students and other members of the RIT community affected, as well as oppose the executive order within their jurisdiction,” the resolution reads.
Also affected is an RIT researcher who has not been allowed back into the U.S. after attending a conference in Saudi Arabia just prior to the travel ban.
“RIT Student Government does not support the executive order to ban nationals from foreign nations, and will advocate for RIT to exercise any legal or political authority within their means to push back against this policy,” the resolution says.
It was introduced at a Student Government meeting by Student Government President Andrea Shaver and Vice President Amar Bhatt. Shaver said applications from prospective RIT students in the seven restricted countries have been put on hold.
“Thank you for being there for us and supporting us,” said Kamran Binaee, an imaging sciences Ph.D. student from Iran, who called Trump’s executive order “a very stressful situation. I can’t go to international conferences and parents can’t visit.”
One student spoke out against the resolution prior to the vote, feeling Student Government should stay neutral on such a partisan and divisive issue.
An informational session sponsored by RIT’s Global Union was held Thursday, when many students, faculty and staff met to learn more. They were told RIT’s International Student Services will be a prime resource on campus for information and that those who wanted to voice opinions to their elected officials are encouraged to do so.
A day after the restrictions went into effect, RIT President Bill Destler announced plans to protect the interests of RIT’s international community and closely monitor developments.
He also signed a letter authored by The American Council on Education (ACE) that expresses U.S. Higher Education Institutions’ concerns about the executive order. A statement was issued by RIT to discourage international students from the seven countries from traveling outside the U.S. for at least 90 days.
Shaver said the resolution will be forwarded to RIT’s Board of Trustees and local, state and federal officials.