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Just hours after President Trump signed his executive order to ban citizens of seven countries from entering the United States, Chancellor Jacquie Moloney and President Marty Meehan released statements on social media standing up for their international students, reassuring that they will ensure that all students have a place to stay to continue their education.
According to Dr. Scott Latham, the Vice Provost for Innovation and Work Force Development, UMass Lowell has approximately 1,000 international students, just under 100 of which are from the countries effected by the travel ban.
Chancellor Moloney’s statement is backed by her administration, who are supporting her initiatives and working tirelessly to make sure the international students who cannot go home, out of fear that they will be unable to return, have a place to stay.
The chancellor was unable to make a comment on her statement due to travel, but members of her administration have expressed full support.
“One of the things that Chancellor Moloney does and why people are so loyal to her is she is an incredible team leader. She is very collaborative. So she, throughout this process, has pulled in a lot of people: myself, Patty McCafferty, the Provost, and Maria Conely. She has been in constant communication with the president’s office as well,” said Latham. “I was part of it and I support her statement fully.”
International students from the impacted countries are being encouraged to stay at the university, which has brought on a huge emotional effect among these students. Even students from other countries are experiencing negative effects from the travel ban.
“I was in India a few weeks ago and I talked to a lot of students, and their number one question was ‘how is the trump administration going to affect me coming to the United States for a degree?’” Said Latham, “And I looked at them at the time and I said ‘well, I know there’s been a lot of publicity but I think the impact would be minimal.’ And in fact it hasn’t been. It really has been disruptive to all the students of our international community.”
Those students of the affected countries are facing enormous pressure to stay in the United States at the university. If they leave with the current ban in place, they run the risk of being unable to return. Latham and the International Student Service Office (ISSO) have been reaching out to these students to ensure their safety and ability to complete their education.
However, many of these students are unable to see their families or receive support. “We have one student from Iran, a doctoral student, who is currently stuck outside the country,” said Latham. “Now I don’t know how Saturday’s [Feb 4] ruling affects her but hopefully she’ll be able to get back. We’re advising anyone from the impacted countries that are here legally not to leave. Because once you leave, and go back, then it’s out of our control.”
The ISSO has been working with the international students and is collaborating with other administrations to monitor the situation. According to the executive director, Maria Conely, all the students have the same benefits on their existing visa. The ban solely affects returning to the United States.
“It’s important to note that we continue to accept international students and issue visa documents to students of all countries, including those from the seven countries covered by the ban,” says Conely. “UMass Lowell is a welcoming community that is enriched by our diversity.”