Following President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending immigration from seven Middle Eastern countries, international students from these areas are being asked not to travel within or outside the United States by airplane until further notice.
This information was relayed in an email sent to international students on Monday.
Austin Cheney, interim chair of the Office of International Students and Scholars, said some Eastern students are from the area affected by the executive order, which are Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Libya.
If the students who live in any of these countries go home, they may not be able to come back if the suspension of immigration is extended, he said.
Summer travel plans will also need to be suspended at this time, Brenda Cuellar, associate director of the Office of International Students and Scholars, said in the email.
Cheney said no one knows if the ban will go beyond 90 days, but the OISS will keep monitoring the situation to keep students safe.
He said he gave his personal contact information to students who might have questions.
“We are being cautious but optimistic,” Cheney said.
Cuellar said the OISS wants to affirm that all international students are welcome at Eastern and in Charleston.
In a statement made Monday, Eastern President David Glassman echoed these sentiments, saying the executive order does not reflect the university’s views.
“We are greatly disheartened by this change in federal policy,” Glassman wrote in an email sent to students.
Glassman said diversity is beneficial to campus, as differing cultures and backgrounds reflect the world at large.
This semester, Eastern reached its highest number of international students in history, with 436 students representing 42 countries.
Glassman wrote that the Office of International Students and Scholars has already reached out to all international students and the university is in the process of reaching out to international faculty and staff.
“It is our commitment that all individuals feel welcomed, accepted and at home on our campus,” Glassman said in his email.
Anyone who needs assistance can contact the OISS at 581-2321 or the Counseling Center in the Human Services Building at 581-3413.
Kennedy Nolen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]