College Responds to Executive order on Immigration and Travel

Maryville College President Tom Bogart gave a response to the travel ban in a memorandum sent out to all faculty, staff and students of Maryville College on Jan. 31. Photo by Adam Brown.
Maryville College President Tom Bogart gave a response to the travel ban in a memorandum sent out to all faculty, staff and students of Maryville College on Jan. 31. Photo by Adam Brown.

President Trump’s travel ban from several Muslim-majority countries is working its way through the court system. Shortly after the executive order was made Maryville College President Tom Bogart sent out a memorandum to the college community responding to the ban. The memorandum calls for an immediate end to the order and reasons that the travel ban could have an impact on both incoming and outgoing international students and study abroad programs (though Maryville College currently does not enroll any international students from countries affected by the current ban).

The memorandum serves to reinforce the ideals of Maryville College as well as show the community that the college stands with other institutions, such as the Association of American Universities, in promoting international education and study abroad programs.

past when it affected the ability of the college to carry out its mission to “do good on the largest possible scale.”

The text of the memorandum cites several students from countries being affected by the ban and their accomplishments. Among students mentioned is Nageeb Arbeely, a Syrian student who attended the college in the 1880’s, and whose family fled the 1860 Damascus Massacre.

“In more recent years, we have welcomed “Lost Boys” from Sudan. In 2002, Jimmy Deng Makuach enrolled, majored in international studies and developed deep and meaningful relationships with classmates, faculty, staff and the wider community. Always determined to play a role in his country’s healing and reconstruction, Jimmy is now South Sudan’s Ambassador to Kenya.”

President Bogart said that normally the college does not make statements regarding policy unless they have an effect on the college. The college issued thememorandum because there was concern amongst the student body, and the executive order is in contention with Maryville College’s mission statement.

Concerns rose as images coming out ofairports of people being detained when trying to enter the country were released. President Bogart commented on these images.

“Troubling…these images are what generated so much concern throughout the community,” said Bogart.

President Bogart also pointed to several theological virtues we should endeavor to have. Among them were justice and hospitality. Policies and legislation that hinder those virtues are fundamentally at odds with what the college espouses.

The executive order is still in discussion by the Legislative system, but no matter the outcome of the ruling, President Bogart leaves his words of guidance.

“The world changes, but I believe this College’s capacity for understanding and compassion does not.”

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