Editorial Board

Syracuse University needs to do more for those on campus concerned about Trump’s immigration ban

Syracuse University’s open house sessions about President Donald Trump’s immigration executive orders demonstrated the university’s willingness to accommodate community members concerned about the orders, but accommodation efforts must go further than two small gatherings on a given Tuesday.

The Slutzker Center for International Services hosted two Campus Open House sessions on Tuesday for students, faculty and staff to meet one-on-one with university lawyers and Slutzker staff and ask questions about Trump’s recent executive order, which bans immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries. About 20 students combined attended the two sessions, which aimed to allow community members to air their concerns — particularly those affecting their studies, research or travel — to SU staff from the Slutzker Center and the Office of General Counsel.

The open house sessions followed Chancellor Kent Syverud’s message to the SU community last week, in which he said the university’s work and contributions are made possible by people from across the globe, including the countries specified in Trump’s order: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. In the email message, Syverud asked the SU community to help him in supporting those at SU affected by the ban.

The open house sessions exemplified Syverud’s mission to support SU community members affected by the ban and those not directly affected but concerned about it. But while the ban is temporarily suspended and its future is in question, SU’s efforts to support its affected community should not stop with these open houses.

The greater community deserves a forum about the sanctuary campus movement and about Trump’s immigration executive orders. A large forum about these topics would draw those who want more information about the ban but don’t feel like they belong at an open house for it.

Since Syverud’s message was sent, staff from the University’s Office of General Counsel and the Slutzker Center for International Services “have been providing personal support and advice to students, faculty and staff potentially affected by the executive orders,” according to a campus-wide email that promoted the open house sessions.

The Office of General Counsel and Slutzker Center’s efforts are commendable. But SU cannot allow these open house sessions to be the greatest extent to which it demonstrates its support for community members affected and concerned by the ban. Accommodating the concerns of these students, faculty and staff needs to be high up on the university’s list of priorities.

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