McMaster condemns American travel ban
McMaster University is publicly opposing the United States travel ban, calling it “deeply troubling.”
“McMaster joins with universities across Canada and around the world in condemning the targeting of individuals based on nationality or religion and is providing supports to any member of the community who may be impacted by this sudden policy change,” stated a message to students and staff dated Jan 30.
McMaster estimates roughly 95 of its graduate students and five undergraduate students are citizens of the seven Muslim-majority countries — Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen — blocked from the United States for 90 days when U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order Jan. 27 to protect the country from “foreign terrorist entry.”
None of the McMaster students are believed to have encountered issues, before a federal judge in Washington State temporarily blocked the ban Feb. 3.
“Since the introduction of the travel ban, McMaster has been focused on ensuring our current students have the supports and resources they may need,” said McMaster spokesperson Gord Arbeau.
“We’ve been reaching out to them to help ease any burdens the troubling actions may present. We have not heard from any current students who have faced delays or difficulties so far.”
Mohawk College is also reaching out to its international students.
“Mohawk is looking at what we can do to help foreign students and continue to be a welcoming college for everyone,” said spokesperson Jay Robb.
Both McMaster and Mohawk have had a dramatic jump in applications from international students since the U.S. election Nov. 8
Applications from American students alone have gone up by 35 per cent at McMaster.
“Mohawk has had a record number of applications from international students,” said Robb. “We’re up by around 50 per cent compared to this time last year.”
Niagara’s Brock University,
which has a campus in Hamilton, says it will streamline its admission process, waive certain fees, cut tuition deposits in half and guarantee residence spaces for eligible students from the seven countries.
“Brock welcomes individuals from around the world,” university provost Tom Dunk stated. “Fostering an inclusive, safe and accessible environment is at the heart of this university’s core values.”
Universities Canada says the 97 schools it represents across the nation are “deeply concerned” about the executive order. It supports a call by the Association of American Universities to end the ban as quickly as possible.
“Universities Canada does not typically comment on executive action being taken by another country, but we do so today because of the real impediment this new executive order poses to the free flow of people and ideas and to the values of diversity, inclusion and openness that are hallmarks of a strong and healthy society,” says the statement from Jan. 29.
McMaster is providing its students and staff with resources to get advice and assistance regarding the ban.
“This is a misguided and harmful step that is unnecessarily disruptive for students, faculty members and other partners,” said Mac president Patrick Deane in a statement.
He also expressed concern about the impact the ban could have on scientific research, which is an increasingly important part of Hamilton’s economy.
“As an internationally-engaged, research-intensive university, this abrupt change in policy has a chilling impact on individual scholars and their families, and on the important relationships we have carefully built over the years,” said Deane.
At McMaster, the ban has also been condemned by the president’s advisory committee on building an inclusive community.
Committee chair Ameil Joseph said in a public letter to McMaster staff, faculty and students: “We stand in solidarity with members of the Muslim communities affected.”
The committee called on the McMaster community to “resist the fear and hate.”
“During this critical period and going forward it will be upon all of us to help foster a sense of safety and inclusion on campus and in the community,” states the letter. There have been a number of planned and spontaneous gatherings in support of the Muslim community on McMaster’s campus since the travel ban was issued. Some have also been in reaction to the Quebec City mosque shooting at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec Jan. 29.
A seminar on diversity will be held at McMaster Feb 13, organized by the office of the president. The event at 4:30 p.m. in the Great Hall, called The Role of the Academy in Building Cultural Abundance in a Diverse Nation, is open to the public. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org