Much has transpired in the two weeks since President Trump signed the executive order suspending immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Most recently, on Feb. 3, a federal court in Seattle entered a nationwide injunction banning implementation of the order, meaning the travel ban is, at least temporarily, not being enforced. The government is now appealing the injunction and a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals is forthcoming. But while the ban is currently halted, I know there remains a heightened sense of uncertainty, concern, even fear on our campus and across the country.
Initially, the university’s focus was on providing immediate support for the three persons connected to Iowa State who were directly and adversely affected by the ban. I am pleased that two of those individuals have since been able to return to Ames. The third individual, a visiting scholar, has postponed travel. Additionally, our International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) has been in regular communication with the 115 students and 10 scholars who are from the countries identified in the executive order.
I recognize that many others in our community have been impacted by this order and other social and political issues. Many Cyclones are concerned for themselves, their families, classmates and colleagues. They are uncertain of their future on campus and in our country. As president, I value these concerns. I understand how frustrating it is to have many questions and few solid answers. But let me be clear: every one of you is important and valued. The Cyclone Family comes from all 99 counties, all 50 states, and 121 countries, and every one of you contributes something unique and special to our university. Your success, safety and well-being matter to me.
The fact is, we don’t have all the answers and we can’t predict the future, but I can assure you we are doing everything we can to provide up-to-date information, resources, and advocacy as quickly and effectively as possible. I appreciate the letter from #HoodiesAndHijabs that appeared Monday in the Iowa State Daily. We have created an online FAQ on the ISSO webpage to address these questions and others, and the FAQ will be updated as new questions are raised and information is available.
As our university and the country continue to face social and political issues that threaten to divide us, it is more important than ever that we come together to listen, share and learn from each other in accordance with the Iowa State Principles of Community. I appreciate members of the campus and community coming together Thursday in a peaceful demonstration of unity and solidarity. I am sorry I can’t be there with you in person as I am traveling out of state in a continued effort to raise more financial support for our institution. But please know I stand with you in spirit. All of you play a critical role in making our university safe, welcoming and inclusive. No matter what state or country you’re from – here at Iowa State, we are one nation: CyclONE Nation!