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Western University is now one of many academic institutions who are calling out President Donald Trump on his controversial travel ban.
President Trump signed an executive order last week, which would ban seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
Since then, controversy has struck worldwide, and here in London. In a statement on Monday, Western University President Amit Chakma addressed his concern for the students, faculty, staff, and visitors from countries included in the ban.
To put things in perspective, 175 Western students are from the countries who have been named under Donald Trump’s executive order, and Western is also home to more than 3000 international students.
In President Chakma’s email sent out to the Western community, it read “we worry about the chilling effect this ban will have on the transfer of knowledge,” – meaning this could directly affect research partnerships, international studies, field visits, and participation in academic conferences. Not to mention, some who call the United States their home could be restricted from visiting their families or loved ones abroad.
Western International Communications Officer, Kristen Dundas, says the motive behind the email was to reassert our university campus values.
“What we are striving to do is to create global citizens and future leaders,” says Dundas. “I think it’s important that President Chakma was able to reach out and reassert those values, and to really stress that we are a global university, and what happens throughout the world affects us and we can affect what happens throughout the world.”
President Chakma explained in his email that he not only wanted to express his empathy and concern, but to also make resources available to those who may be affected by the ban or who have further questions.
“We have set up a web page for students to visit under ‘Western International’ main page,” says Dundas. “It’s meant merely as a resource for people as their trying to figure out how these restrictions may affect them. There are a number of links, for example the government of Canada websites with information, as well as a link to statements by Western’s president and Universities Canada.”
As well as the website, there will be a global café event held at Western on Friday, February 10 – an initiative to come together and celebrate diversity in light of all of the negativity.