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January 26, 2017 - Message from Associate Provost for International Programs

January 26, 2017 message from Associate Provost for International Programs, Susan Popko

Dear Colleagues,

This week US President Donald Trump is expected to sign executive orders that include a temporary ban on most refugees and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria and other countries in the Middle East and Africa.  Current countries mentioned by aides include: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.  International people from these countries contribute to the US in important ways, impacting higher education and our campus.

The announcement is staggering when one considers the framing of this action as related to Muslim countries and that two countries with significant Muslim populations are among the top ten places of origin of all international students in the US,  India (16%) and Saudi Arabia (6%).  In fact, 32% of currently international students studying in the US come from countries in Africa, the Middle East and South and Central Asia with significant Muslim populations - a massive one-fifth of all our international students in the US.   Here in Silicon Valley, we know that our community thrives in large part due to the talents of people from these countries.  

At SCU, we are proud to have 464 international students from a broad range of countries with significant Muslim populations including: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Cameroon, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Zambia, Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Bangladesh, India, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste/East Timor, Vietnam, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, United Emirates, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.  

Our students tell us that they are feeling scared and targeted at this time.  Please take a moment to engage students who may be in your classes or programs to reinforce support for them.  You may be interested to know that Campus Ministry has organized Jum'ah prayer on Fridays, 2:20-2:40 p.m. in Multifaith Sanctuary (St. Joseph Hall, 1st floor).  

In addition to international students, we have international scholars who are in the process of preparing to come to SCU.  Our International Students and Scholars staff will continue to work to support these scholars but we expect that this Executive Action by the US President may impact our efforts to bring a globally diverse intellectual community to SCU through our international scholars program.  We want to thank our SCU faculty Host Coordinators working with scholars from these countries, in particular.

Thank you for all that you do to support global diversity on our campus.


Susan Popko