The Student News Site of Clemson University

The Tiger

The Tiger

The Tiger

Letter to the editor: Why Clemson must resist, reject complacency in Trump’s muslim ban

One of the phrases I hear thrown around a lot on campus is the “Clemson Family,” and a question I’ve asked myself, as I know so many others have, is “What makes the ‘Clemson Family?’” People in the immigrant community and other marginalized communities are looking to Clemson for protection, and the entire country is looking at each of us to see what we are willing to do to assist and work for our “Clemson Family.”
Last spring, my friends and so many others felt lost. We staged a protest in Sikes Hall to bring attention to that fact. Yet here I am, almost a year later, sitting in that same building and waiting to talk to administration about the mass discrimination affecting the people around me.
Just because a law exists does not make it morally or ethically right. For years we existed with complacency under Jim Crow laws. This executive order will not be the end, nor will Muslims, immigrants and Middle Eastern people be the only communities that will feel its effects. I urge you to take steps to ensure your “Clemson Family” is protected to the fullest possible extent. In light of actions taken at Boston College, it would be a gesture of good faith to offer housing for your displaced immigrant students and alumni affected, similar to the housing of Coastal Carolina students during Hurricane Matthew last semester.
President Clements released a statement on Jan. 28, followed by another on Jan. 30. His reaction to the new executive order could be considered lukewarm at best. Both statements included the recommendation that affected students “refrain from traveling outside the United States if at all possible for the time being,” but the terrifying thing you have yet to see is that the 115 students Clemson has identified is only a baseline. It is the bare minimum of those affected in our own community.
What I want to know is, what is Clemson doing to help students and alumni that are currently stuck abroad, as well as to ensure that students at Clemson can maintain their visa status (I-20 and DS-2019)? Afshin Ahmadi is a Clemson student in Iran. He has been waiting for eight months for his visa to be approved to allow him to return as a student. Are you working to ensure his safe return? There are multiple academic conferences your professors are involved in, that have now had speakers or guests barred from entering the country and engaging with these groups. How will you work to help coordinate those? There are athletes that are faced with an inability to participate in the sports they love, because of their nationality barring them from leaving or entering the country. As this ban is a clear obstruction of the academic process at all levels, we want to see you speak out against it more forcefully than you have done so far.
There are multiple colleges, from Rutgers to Harvard, Cornell, Michigan, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Duke, Arizona and beyond, that have all put out preliminary statements in opposition to the Muslim Ban. All of them were far more earnest in their support of their students, as well in their condemnation of a discriminatory policy, than your own. Given the immediacy of both of your statements, it’s incredibly disappointing that you can’t produce a statement that is stronger in regards to support of your students and rejection of a legalized form of discrimination. We have received longer, more detailed and even more supportive emails affirming the “free speech” of Clemson students than we have heard regarding this executive order. That’s confusing and represents a stunning lack of priorities, seeing as this ban puts the lives of your students at risk.
It is not a political statement to qualify that the people around you, the people you see every day, the people that work for you and go to this school, have humanity. It is not a political statement to say that the immigrants among us are just as deserving of rights and are as equal as we are. It should not be a political statement to say that people have humanity, and that their lives matter, and yet I am led to think again and again that your impression is otherwise. It is not a political statement to say that discriminatory policies based in xenophobia, Islamophobia and racism, are, in fact, discriminatory and hateful. Your complacency in this matter and your lack of willingness to speak out and to say these things, to act as a conscientious objector in the face of discrimination, do not give me much hope for the students here at this school.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tiger

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clemson University . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Tiger

Comments (0)

All The Tiger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *