SUNY students warned not to travel to countries on ban list

January 29, 2017 11:44 PM

Albany -- SUNY officials say 320 students are from the seven Muslim-majority countries listed in President Donald Trump’s travel ban.

In a statement, SUNY's board chairman and chancellor urge students not to go to those nations saying a hold on part of the executive order, only applies to people stranded at airports when the stay was issued.

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“That is not what the United States of America is about,” said SUNY Student Assembly President Marc Cohen. “That is not what New York is about. That is not what SUNY is about,” he said.

Student leadership representing hundreds of thousands of students, including Cohen said as much in a statement calling the move hateful.

“Students of the State University of New York have no tolerance for discrimination of any kind,” Cohen said. “We came together, the united student governments of our 64 campuses with a loud clear voice saying we will not stand for this,” he said.

One of those leaders, Stony Brook Graduate Student Organization President, Vahideh Rasekhi, was detained at JFK airport Saturday as a result of the ban.

But UAlbany freshman Zack Rubinchik says people should give the president's policies a chance.

“He's the president. He made the decision. Let’s see how it goes,” he said.    

President Trump said the ban is, "not about religion." 

But many critics and students have argued that it targets Muslims.

“I'm from Nigeria so there's actually a lot of Muslims there,” said Emmanuel Jagede. “So it actually effects me in a way because I have some family members who are Muslim,” he said.

Jegede worries his country could be next on the list.

“Soon I feel like soon he'll start targeting other countries and stuff,” he said.

SUNY officials also reaffirmed their commitment to diversity and say they will do what they legally can to "support any students, faculty, and staff affected by the Executive Order."

"At the State University of New York our values are openness, accessibility and inclusivity,” Cohen said.

Last week SUNYs board also restated their commitment to support undocumented students in response to new federal immigration policy.


Nia Hamm

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