Based on the needs expressed by international students affected by the Executive Order on immigration, we present the following list of demands. This racist attack against immigrants and refugees affects international students in great part, which necessitates a strong commitment from the University to provide all forms of financial, legal, political and institutional support to ensure the protection of the lives and working conditions of its students.
The encouraging conversation of the International Students Working Group of the Graduate Workers of Columbia with Associate Provost and Director of International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO), David Austell, gives us hope that the administration will respond to the needs of international students in this hour of crisis. The Columbia community looks forward to a communication from the President's Office announcing that the points on this list will be acted upon urgently. It is essential for the physical, emotional and intellectual well being of several members of our community.
1. We ask President Bollinger to sign a joint statement with the Graduate Workers of Columbia, Students Organize for Syria, Turath (Arab Students Association), Muslim Students Association, Columbia Iranian Students Association and others, condemning the Executive Order on immigration and committing to do everything in our collective power to protect affected people at the university. (link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1MmxitSysrg6MJ-cIU6iinf8WQCQZwDKB3Nz7VvIhLh8/edit)2. Ensure that affected students suffer no financial or academic penalties/difficulties: a. Provide free legal advice for those who need it. b. Ensure that affected students do not lose funding as a result of the executive order. c. Create an emergency fund to support exigencies of affected students (eg: to help fund airfare for those affected severely by the need to repurchase flight tickets because of the rapidly changing situations in the past few days.) d. Ensure summer housing opportunities for those affected by the executive order (i.e., guaranteed paid-for summer housing for affected undergraduates) e. Ensure adequate financial support for summer for affected students (i.e., raise funding to academic year levels for those graduate students who currently have some summer funding, and provide the same for those who don’t.) f. Invest the University’s legal and political resources to ensure that any affected student currently outside the USA may return to university to finish her degree. g. Allow defenses of theses/dissertations from abroad if it becomes necessary. h. Enhance fellowships and other funding opportunities (RA, TA) for those affected, as necessary. i. Ensure maintenance of student status during any extended stays required by the executive order. 3. Urge the American Council on Education to issue a statement strongly opposing the executive order. 4. Urge the American Council on Education to publicly oppose President Trump’s plan to weaken the Optional Practical Training program. 5. State publicly that the University will not change admissions policies because of the Executive Order. 6. Work jointly with elected leaders to roll back the Executive Order and assist those affected by it. 7. State that Columbia University will provide sanctuary for affected international students, as has been promised to DACA and undocumented students. 8. Establish a University standing committee (combining students, faculty, and administrative staff) to deal with President Trump’s rolling orders.
Names of people who have signed will be regularly updated here: http://www.columbiagradunion.org/columbiaresists/#signers