Update: On February 4, the U.S, government temporarily suspended its travel ban on people from seven primarily Muslim countries after a Seattle judge halted its enforcement. This story was written February 3.
Emily Carr University is joining the list of post-secondary institutions opening their doors to students and faculty who might be affected by the U.S. government’s travel ban.
“We really hope that students will be able to go ahead with their studies at American universities and, if that’s not possible, our doors are open and welcoming,” says Tori Klassen, the arts university’s executive director of communications.
Emily Carr is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art & Design, which includes 42 specialized arts schools in the U.S. and Canada. Its members will accept any international student who planned to study at a U.S.-member institution and all credits will be fully transferrable.
It issued a statement advocating against the executive order signed by President Donald Trump, limiting entry to the country by citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days.
“AICAD member institutions are firmly committed to supporting diversity among their students, faculty and staff, welcoming individuals individuals of all ethnicities and religious affiliations from across the glove.”
The AICAD calls this a “dark hour”.
Anxiety and gratitude are two of the emotions gripping students at Simon Fraser University.
“We had a large event yesterday called ‘We Are All SFU’ and several students told me of their shock and how it makes them worry about Islamophobia,” says Dr. Tim Rahilly, SFU’s vice-provost and associate vice-president, students and international. ”Those who are not permanent residents want to avoid trying to go to the USA and if they were considering attending grad school in the US or attending conferences and workshops, they no longer have any interest in that.”
However, many students are also telling him that they are grateful for the university’s stance on the travel ban.
SFU has about 450 students and numerous faculty and staff from countries affected by the ban — Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia. There is the possibility that the ban might disrupt international studies, work placements, competitions, field visits, research partnerships, conference participation and family relationships, the office of the president says.
SFU’s president Andrew Petter says the unversity is “committed to supporting international study mobility, and will do all we can to enable students to participate in programs around the world.
“More generally, we at SFU must redouble our efforts to create a welcoming and supportive environment for all members of our community.”
This message is getting across to students, says Dr. Rahilly. They are expressing “gratitude towards SFU for reaching out to them and offering support, and gratitude for Canada and its stance on immigration and refugees. While I am sure this is not a universal feeling, it is nice to hear.”
He encourages students to continue to share ideas on how the university can combat intolerance and Islamaphobia.
The University of British Columbia has set aside $250,000 for a task force looking into what the university can do to help those affected by the ban.
“We are especially concerned about the effect of the executive order on some UBC students, faculty and staff, as well as other scholars in Canada, the U.S. and around the world,” says a statement from UBC president Santa Ono.
“UBC’s academic strength and stature depends upon the freedom of our faculty, staff and students to travel abroad for purposes of scholarship and study and upon our ability to welcome the most talented individuals from around the world to our campuses. Actions that restrict this movement based on a person’s nationality or birthplace go against our values as a university.”