Tag: executive order

A few hours ago, President Bollinger sent an email about how the university is handling President Trump’s recent immigration executive order. The full text of his email is below:

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

Over the past two weeks, we have been working with several other academic institutions (sixteen, including all Ivy League universities) on an amicus brief that was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York challenging the Executive Order regarding immigrants from seven designated countries and refugees.  Among other things, the brief asserts that “safety and security concerns can be addressed in a manner that is consistent with the values America has always stood for, including the free flow of ideas and people across borders and the welcoming of immigrants to our universities.”  There will be more to say in the days ahead.  

Sincerely,

Lee C. Bollinger

In response to pressure from groups on campus, Columbia President Lee Bollinger issued a statement early this morning regarding President Trump’s recent executive order regarding immigration policy. The full statement is below:

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community:

With the executive order issued by President Trump barring admission to the United States of Syrian refugees and imposing a 90-day ban on all immigrant and nonimmigrant entry from seven Muslim-majority nations, the fear so many have had about federal policies being changed in ways that could affect our community has become disturbingly real.

The public controversy and legal debate over the President’s order is intense.  Among the many strong petitions and compelling statements that have been issued is one from the Association of American Universities (AAU), of which Columbia is a member.  We join with many peers in decrying this action as discriminatory, damaging to America’s leadership in higher education, and contrary to our nation’s core values and founding principles.

At a practical level, we are advising community members and visiting scholars from the designated countries to suspend plans for international travel.  At the moment, we do not know of any Columbia students, faculty, or staff from the seven designated countries who are currently abroad.  In the meantime, we urge anyone seeking further guidance to contact our International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO).

At a more fundamental level, this order undermines the nation’s continuing commitment to remain open to the exchange of people and ideas.  We must not underestimate the scale of its impact.  An estimated 17,000 international students in the U.S. are from the seven nations covered by the entry ban.  Scholars planning to travel to the United States for meetings and conferences at our colleges and universities will effectively be barred from attending.  If this order stands, there is the certainty of a profound impact on our University community, which is committed to welcoming students, faculty, and staff from around the world, as well as across the nation.

As I have said on many occasions, it is critically important that the University, as such, not take stands on ideological or political issues.  Yet it is also true that the University, as an institution in the society, must step forward to object when policies and state action conflict with its fundamental values, and especially when they bespeak purposes and a mentality that are at odds with our basic mission.  This is such a case.
   
It is important to remind ourselves that the United States has not, except in episodes of national shame, excluded individuals from elsewhere in the world because of their religious or political beliefs.  We have learned that generalized fears of threats to our security do not justify exceptions to our founding ideals.  There are many powerful and self-evident reasons not to abandon these core values, but among them is the fact that invidious discrimination often adds fuel to deeply harmful stereotypes and hostility affecting our own citizens. 

It is with regret that I have to send this communication. 

Sincerely,

Lee C. Bollinger

CW: Graphic content

In light of President Trump’s executive order banning immigrants and green card holders from seven Muslim-majority countries, Kashaf Doha (BC’19) vents her frustration over this and the refugee crisis with a poem.

Who Will Love Me Now?

A girl emerges from the rubble,
staggering into the street,
where blood-stained debris and tattered limbs
replace the men and women negotiating with
the loud, but kind street vendors.

She doesn’t recognize her school.
She walks down the street,
not knowing where to go
and wonders if her classmates or teachers
survived.

She recognizes a bald man.

“Papa?”

She runs over to him,
“Papa, wake up! No time to sleep!”
“Papa, we have to take you to the hospital!
Look at your leg!”

She shakes his head angrily: “WAKE UP!”

Suddenly,
she feels a strong force
that pulls her away.

“She’s alive!”
“But her father is dead!”
the man in the white helmet yells

“Papa,
Don’t let them take me!
I want to be with you!”

The other men in white helmets
zip her father’s body in a bag.
They quickly pile into an ambulance,
passing all the destitution that
should only belong in a
nightmare

Hot tears stream down her small face.

She remembers holding her father’s finger,
as he walked her to school,
the other girls’ made fun of her,
because he braided her hair,
but Mama died at childbirth,
so who else would braid her
hair?

She remembers his big smile,
whenever she told him that she wanted
be to a doctor.
She remembers his laugh,
whenever she told him school gossip.
She remembers his seriousness,
whenever he watched the news.
She remembers his pain,
whenever he would describe her Mama’s
kindness, intelligence, and beauty.

She remembers his love
whenever he told her that
she was the most important thing
to ever happen to him

Who will love me now?
She thought.

—————————————————–
A boy emerges from the rubble,
He doesn’t remember what day it is,
But he remembers watching his mother and sister,
being squashed as his home caved in
and the world going black.

He makes his way to the mosque,
where his older brother told him to go,
in case something bad happens.

It’s difficult to avoid walking over limbs,
because they are everywhere.
It’s difficult to not get lost,
because all the buildings look the same:
heaps of concrete.

He finds pieces of glass with the word
“Bismillah” on them.
This is the mosque–
or where it used to be.

He sees a man in a white helmet
who begins to cry
as they reunite.

“Mama and Sarah are gone,” he says.
“So is Papa,” his brother replies.
“We found a girl, who lost her Papa too,” he adds

They quickly pile into an ambulance,
passing all the destitution that
should only belong in a
nightmare

Hot tears stream down his small face.

He remembers his Mama
packing his lunch and kissing him on the cheek
every morning before he went to school.
He remembers his sister,
who laughed every time he
stuck out his tongue.
He remembers his Papa
telling him to respect his Christian neighbors:
“Different ways to love God
is still loving God,”

He remembers his family.
He remembers their warmth.
He remembers their love.

Who will love me now?
He thought.

—-

*Editor’s note: The Lion doesn’t usually publish poetry, but we thought that this was an especially relevant exception.

If you’d like to submit a piece to the Lion, please send it to submissions@thecolumbialion.com.