To the FIT Community:
In the wake of President Trump’s order on Friday to ban temporarily people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, I write to reaffirm FIT’s unyielding commitment to tolerance and inclusion. Just the other day, at the FIT Faculty Convocation, I spoke of our obligation as an educational institution to be open to a wide range of ideas and opinions, to welcome discussion and debate—and to revel in the broad diversity of students and employees we are fortunate enough to harbor within our corridors.
That the president’s order occurred on International Holocaust Day underscored its bitter irony and reminded us of America’s own dark days during World War II when we interned our own Japanese-American citizens and refused entry to desperate Jews fleeing Nazi persecution. FIT is not alone among higher education institutions in its profound concern regarding this order. I share with you a statement issued yesterday by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher and SUNY Board Chair H. Carl McCall:
“The State University of New York enrolls approximately 22,140 international students from 180 countries, including 320 students from the seven countries affected by the current ban on travel. SUNY is reviewing President Trump’s Executive Order and surveying its campuses to determine the impact it may have on our students, faculty, and staff both abroad and at home on our 64 college and university campuses.
“As always, our commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion are unwavering. Our founding principles and support for undocumented students, restated by the SUNY Board of Trustees at its meeting last week, continue to guide our actions as we review and react to new federal mandates with regard to immigration.
“SUNY leadership and university police will do all we can, within the law, to support any students, faculty, and staff affected by the Executive Order. In the meantime, we recommend suspending travel plans to the countries included, and urge individuals affected to keep in contact with their campus Office of International Student and Scholar Services.
“SUNY has established a website (www.suny.edu/immigration) to provide students and families with current resources as well as additional information as it becomes available.”
FIT currently has about 1000 international students. Three of our currently enrolled students come from the seven countries named in the order. At the moment, none of our 68 employees on visas or green cards are from the seven countries. This is a fluid situation and we ask that those members of our community who could be affected by the order be in touch with either our Office of International Student Services or our Department of Human Resources, as appropriate, for updates and further guidance. The college will continue to provide as much support as we have available.
Dr. Joyce F. Brown