California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Cal Lutheran Responds To Trump’s Travel Ban

    In an email sent out to the California Lutheran University community Jan. 31, Cal Lutheran President Chris Kimball affirmed the university’s inclusivity in response to President Donald J. Trump’s temporary Immigration Executive Order. This ban continues to remain controversial, as it is currently not in effect as of Feb. 13 and continues to be deliberated.

    Kimball’s email reaffirmed that the university will continue to embrace diversity, provide legal and emotional resources and act as a support system for the entire community.

    “I don’t think Cal Lutheran stands for what our president stands for. President Kimball shared a statement that talked about the kind of community we are trying to build. I think with the strides we have taken, we’ve gone a long way to make CLU a place that is comfortable and welcoming for all students,” Director of International Admissions Dane Rowley said.

    On Jan. 27, President Trump enforced an executive order temporarily banning travel from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. According to Juanita Hall, senior director of Multicultural and International Student Services and assistant to the president for Diversity and Inclusion, there are currently no international exchange students from those seven countries studying at Cal Lutheran, but there are students and faculty who have family that reside in those seven countries.

    Rowley, who travels to different countries to recruit future students to Cal Lutheran, said that President Trump has made schools in America less attractive. Students abroad in Muslim countries have asked Rowley if they would be welcome in the states, or if they would be discriminated against or be in danger if they chose Cal Lutheran as their university.  Nonetheless, Rowley said he will continue to travel to those countries and recruit students to affirm they are welcome at Cal Lutheran.

    “Our doors are always open for those that have been affected. Our immigration attorney comes and talks about those issues and the travel ban and we have provided a link to his website as a resource. They would go to the airport if a student was stuck there to try and help them but we want to make sure our students know what is happening and provide them with moral support and resources that can actually do the legal work,” Hall said. 

    Though the travel ban was on a temporary stay, Hall said she still feels like it is more important than before for Cal Lutheran to provide students with the help they need.

    “I almost cried when I saw President Kimball’s email. I do go to a school that cares about me,” said Parnia Vafaei, a Cal Lutheran sophomore who was born in Iran.

    Vafaei has family in Iran, and spent a majority of her winter break visiting them. She said she appreciated Kimball’s acknowledgment of the travel ban. However, she feels the university needs to make a more active approach, or emphasize that they are providing services and that they do care to make minorities feel more welcomed.

    “Sometimes I feel overlooked. We spend so much money on ‘Let it Snow’ and Sage the Gemini. The school can use the money that they have to spend like that in other ways to make students feel more included,” Vafaei said.

    Melissa Maxwell-Doherty, vice president for Mission and Identity and campus pastor, said once the travel ban was issued, Cal Lutheran’s first priority was to figure out how to help its students and faculty members.

    “One of our commitments at this university is that people’s faith expressions are allowed to be present and to flourish, and that is part of our Lutheran university DNA,” Maxwell-Doherty said.

    Vafaei said the school can try to have a better understanding of what affected students are going through. She explained that her grades began to drop because she feels like she can no longer “see the finish line.”

    Vafaei said it would help if professors would try to take that into consideration and realize some students are greatly affected by what President Trump is doing. When they go to marches to protest it’s not a waste of their time, it’s their future.

    “We are not going to change who we are as an institution. If anything, I think it will help us refine even more what kind of place we want to be,” Rowley said. “The university won’t be backing down. It will make us stronger in that way, even if there are consequences to it.”

    By Maryssa Rillo
    Staff Writer