Student Government column

We all come to Carnegie Mellon to get the best education available to us. When changes in laws threaten the ability of students to continue an education here, our best defense is educating ourselves. With this in mind, the President’s Cabinet hoped to create such a space for our students.

The Open Forum on Immigration Policy, hosted by the President’s Cabinet and the University on Tuesday, Feb. 14, resulted from feelings of shock at the rapid change of the immigration rights of so many, and a need to help our community members gather accurate information on their options in these new tricky situations. In this event, we welcomed members of Klasko Law, one of the top five immigration law firms in the United States, to answer questions by students, staff, and faculty attending the event, as well as members of our community who were watching online, about how this change in policy would affect their ability to travel or their immigration status.

It quickly became apparent why Carnegie Mellon turned to Klasko Law as they doled important advice about potential risks threatening the rights of citizens from the seven nations affected by the recent executive order. After a personal explanation from Ron Klasko about why he did not agree with the new policy, a brief explanation was offered about its immediate effects and possible changes and expansions in the future. It was stressed that citizens of other countries with a large Muslim population, such as Egypt, should refrain from traveling internationally unless necessary, due to the immediate effect of executive orders and the lack of a need of notice to these sudden changes. It was stressed that all social media and confidential files can be searched at airports and borders as well.

Especially important in this event was the reaffirmation of President Suresh to the University’s values of inclusion of all students, staff, and faculty, and how it will always stand above others’ fear of the unknown. “To those in our [Carnegie Mellon] community concerned about their welcome in this country, and in this university: you belong. You deserve to be here. Our university would not be the same without you, and you will always be welcomed here.” Similarly, Vaasavi Unnava, Carnegie Mellon’s Student Body President, restated her commitment to being an advocate of every student at Carnegie Mellon University, regardless of their background or the external political climate.

I am so proud, as a student and an immigrant, to attend and work in a University that is so committed to welcoming and protecting all its students, staff, and faculty. The audio file of the forum is available on the Carnegie Mellon website. The Office of International Education, as well as Student Government, is always available to help guide questions about immigration or safety on campus and in this nation.