GSO Statement on Presidential Executive Order of Jan. 27th

Graduate Students,

It’s been over a one week since the US federal administration signed an executive order preventing people from seven countries (Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan) including green card and visa holders, and refugees, from entering or re-entering the US. While the order has been (as of right now) temporarily suspended, confusion persists and will likely continue. Its full implications are unknown. But, Binghamton University has suggested that people from these seven countries refrain from international travel, for the time being. Clearly, this ban will force many students to choose between staying in the US to fulfill educational and employment responsibilities, and visiting their families, conducting research, and attending conferences.

The Graduate Student Organization represents all Binghamton University graduate students, always. Every student should be afforded full participation in the academic, professional, and social life of the university and their field, including research and travel. Educational, professional, and research opportunities should be equally available to all graduate students and not abridged due to one’s race, class, gender, country of origin, religion, sexual preference, immigration status, or political belief. Furthermore, all graduate students deserve the right to a full life, however they define it. No student should fear for their safety or well-being, nor be preventing from participating in the cultural, family, religious, and political life of their choosing. Denial of these rights diminishes the university’s intellectual and social atmosphere for everyone. There should be no second-class graduate students or scholars. Period.

The Graduate Student Organization, without reservation or qualification, supports all graduate students, always. Right now, this means standing with our fellow graduate students singled out by US President’s recent executive order and preparing for more actions like it. We pledge to work with the university to defend and assist students and scholars whose lives were arbitrarily disrupted and thrown into uncertainly. We will uphold the promises and values of public higher education, including dedication to academic inquiry, intellectual honesty, freedom of expression, commitment to diversity in its many forms, inclusivity, and equal opportunity.

During the last GSO Senate meeting, the senate proposed and passed a resolution calling for an immediate end to the executive order and registered its commitment to all those effected on campus. It reaffirmed GSO’s opposition—in line with SUNY policy, and State and federal law— to discrimination based on a graduate student’s country of origin. It also endorsed a rally this Thursday that will contest the executive order and relate the actions human cost in our community. More information on will be forthcoming through the GSO listserv.

Currently, approximately 86 people on campus hail from the seven countries named in the executive order, 70 of whom are graduate students. Over 40% of the graduate student population on campus are international students. Several journalist accounts have described the perilous situation scholars from universities across the country have faced when returning to the US, often being stranded (often unlawfully) in airport security or outside the US due to this action. Others have had to cancel travel plans, and incurring financial, intellectual, and personal loss.

Graduate student should be aware that SUNY policy specifically bans admission decisions based on country of origin. Departments cannot make dismiss applicants because their country of origin is singled-out in the executive order on immigration.

Over the past week, the GSO executive board began and engaged in conversation with the administration, graduate students, faculty, and staff on how best to support persons caught up in these political maneuverings around immigration policy. From these conversations ISSS devised a forum with immigration lawyers open to all students being held tomorrow (Tuesday Feb 7, 3-5pm, Mandela Room–more details are contained in the GSO Weekly Newsletter). The forum will explain the new immigration orders’ implications. GSO is also discussing how we can financially support effected students and mitigate the order’s negative effects. We encourage sub-organizations to review their finances as well and discuss within their organizations devoting a portion of their allocation. We are also in conversations about potential, graduate student centered programming.

If you have further suggestions for how we can help, please pass them along.

If you are a graduate student impacted by the executive order or in fear of its implications, feel free to contact GSO. We will keep your concerns and stories confidential.

–GSO

Below are links to various on-line resources and statements regarding the executive order for your information:

Message from President Stenger: http://www.binghamton.edu/inside/index.php/news-briefs/show/message-to-the-campus-community2

Message from SUNY Chancellor Zimpher: http://www.suny.edu/immigration/
(Also review the full resolution passed by the SUNY Board of Trustees: http://www.suny.edu/about/leadership/board-of-trustees/meetings/webcastdocs/ResoTab8_Affirmation%20of%20Support%20for%20Undocumented%20Students.pdf)

Online resources from Penn State (note: this does include information only relevant for Penn State students, but there is plenty of information applicable to all students): https://global.psu.edu/content/us-presidential-executive-orders-concerning-international-community

Article from the Chronic of Higher Education on stranded students: http://www.chronicle.com/article/Trump-s-Travel-Ban-Leaves/239039

Op-ed from BU Professor opposing the order: https://www.bupipedream.com/opinion/77493/moral-bankruptcy-of-trumps-muslim-ban/

For now, the order is suspended: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/feb/05/travel-ban-white-house-files-appeal-against-ruling-as-trump-says-well-win

The New York State Attorney General Sues over travel ban: https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-schneiderman-files-suit-against-president-trumps-unconstitutional-immigration