President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order on Jan. 28 temporarily banning travel from the following predominantly Muslim countries for 90 days: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
This action invoked public outrage, and thousands gathered at airports across the country to protest the ban and offer assistance to immigrants and refugees. Several federal judges across the nation deemed the ban unconstitutional, which resulted in the Department of Homeland Security suspending the executive order on Feb. 4.
At ETSU, eight students have been impacted, according to the Johnson City Press. All of those students were in the country at the time the ban went into effect.
In an email sent out to the student body on Jan. 30 by the Office of the President, the university said the executive order did not directly affect any ETSU student’s status.
Maria Costa, the director of international programs at ETSU, is offering aid to students that are affected by recent events.
“We are inviting [impacted students] to meet with us to discuss their concerns,” Costa said. “There are several campus units prepared and willing to provide support.”
Many facilities at ETSU have reached out to students such as the Counseling Center, the Office of Student Affairs and the Multicultural Center.
On Feb. 1, the Multicultural Center partnered with the Muslim Student Association to host an event in honor of World Hijab Day.
“It’s an opportunity to increase awareness to our non-Muslim students about the hijab, to encourage and support those
women who choose to [wear a hijab], because it helps everyone feel more included in terms of identity,” said Angela Claxton-Freeman, the interim director of the ETSU Multicultural Center.
This event allowed for any student, male or female, to visit the Multicultural Center and try on the traditional Hijabs. Members of the Muslim Student Association brought their own headscarves to teach their peers how to wear one.
“They could be a Muslim and never wear a hijab,” Claxton-Freeman said. “We have some at our school that don’t choose to wear them, but putting yourself on the front line in terms of identity and development, sometimes it can be positive and sometimes negative. So, we are trying to provide an opportunity where we can encourage and support those women. We were interested in just creating awareness.”
On the same day that the Multicultural Center hosted World Hijab Day, a group of ETSU students participated in a rally opposing Trump’s Muslim travel ban at the corner of University Parkway and State of Franklin Road.
For students who want to show the Muslim-Community at ETSU that they care, Costa offered a word of advice.
“At this time, a word or gesture of kindness would be lovely,” Costa said. “Later, as we identify more needs, we will reach out to our community.”