Source: nbcnews.com

UC supports refugees, decries Trump executive order

Joe Parillo, Staff Writer

After President Donald Trump signed an executive order, temporarily banning immigration from seven different countries, many Utica College students and faculty made it clear that they stand with refugees.

With the ban, many people have felt elevated anxiety about what the future may hold for the country. Utica is a city that thrives on immigrants and refugees. Many people in the UC community feel that, in general, people have been supportive and welcoming. Hearing news of the ban was frightening for many people in the community.

The Dean of International Education Christopher Johnson first checked to see if any students, faculty or staff were impacted. This mirrors the mentality of the UC campus, which prides itself on inclusiveness.

UC officials made it clear they are here for support and are happy to foster a welcoming and open environment on campus. With the recent events, UC has stepped up its efforts to let all students know that they are welcomed and loved. The current mentality in Utica is not only are refugees welcomed, but they are needed.

During the past week, the Office of International Education held a town hall meeting. The purpose of the meeting was to inform international students and the UC community about what we know about the current situation of the laws that are being laid out. The staff and students that attended felt the welcoming and supportive environment. The meeting housed many different offices on campus to let students know that if they need guidance or help during the current situation, their offices are always open for them to come for help and support. They hope to hold more of these town hall meetings during the course of more developing information.

The continuing message throughout Utica is that it is a city that needs refugees. A huge factor to that is the help the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees provides to the area. UC also includes many refugees in its student body.

Ena Latic, a student at UC and a refugee from Croatia, initially felt nauseous when she heard Trump wanted to implement the ban. She feels that Utica has been very open and has done a good job with responding to the news. She hopes that the ban does not make students give up on their drive and openness that has been expressed on campus. Although the situation is in the midst of a dark place, she still sees the light that comes from the supportive community. Her biggest concern is for the people that are scared and don’t know how to deal  with the circumstance.

Latic was also very grateful for her experience in Utica. She attended Proctor High School, which she thinks was one of the most diverse schools she has ever seen.

“It really depends on where you were brought up,” Latic said. “People who grew up in more diverse communities experience the benefits rather than the negatives that are being portrayed currently.”

International student Erin Doak shared similar sentiments.

“It’s upsetting to hear talk like that from the leader of the free world,”  Doak said.