Hawkins: Main effect of ban is anxiety

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The anxiety caused by President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily halting refugee immigration has affected Troy University more than the order itself, Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. said Tuesday.

“We’re not as much concerned about the impact but the net effect of anxiety that it has had,” Hawkins said. “From what I’ve read, this will have little effect on our practices but it may affect our students and some of our potential students.”

Hawkins clarified that the university is not coming out against Trump’s order but standing with international students to ease that anxiety.

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“This is not a lack of support for the administration,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins said the executive order could delay or block the admission of 20 students who had applied to come to Troy from Iraq and Iran.

“We know we have students looking to come from two of the countries listed and we currently have students enrolled from three of those countries,” Hawkins said.

The executive order, in addition to its 120-day halt on all refugee immigration, put a 90-day ban on entry to the United States by citizens of Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, Iran, Iraq and Yemen.

Hawkins said the university is encouraging students from those seven countries not to leave the United States and for all international students to speak with advisors if they have questions or concerns.

Media outlets, celebrities, government officials and members of the general public have reacted critically to the executive order over the past few days.

For example, Trump fired acting attorney general Sally Yates on Tuesday after she defied the executive order and told federal judges not to defend it.

Hawkins said that anxiety surrounding the executive order has reached the international student base as well.

“It’s the unknown that sometimes affects us the most in life,” Hawkins said. “Students may be afraid of something that isn’t based on fact, but that may be what they’re anticipating. So we’re advising students to get the facts before getting upset.” Before we can solve a problem we have to frame the problem.”

If any students are stuck in the states and have problems with housing, Hawkins said the university would work with them to ensure they find a way.

“Housing was a real challenge for us in the fall with more international students coming than we could accommodate,” Hawkins said. “But we found housing for them. That just speaks to the commitment we have to our international students.”

Hawkins said that this is similar to what happened after the September 11 attacks 15 years ago, although not on as large of a scale. His hope, he said, is that America makes sure not to lose out on bringing in international students because of the reduction of visas.

“What we don’t want to do is lose even a portion of the one million international students we bring in. Ninety-nine percent of them are good ambassadors for our country,” Hawkins said.