The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday April 14th

UNC takes steps to reach out to international students following Trump's immigration ban

<p>First-years Delainey Kirkwood (left), Charlotte Smith (middle), and Monica Mussack (right) are international students who attend UNC.</p>
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First-years Delainey Kirkwood (left), Charlotte Smith (middle), and Monica Mussack (right) are international students who attend UNC.

Elizabeth Barnum, director of UNC International Student and Scholar Services, said her office has been reaching out to students who are and could be affected by the order via email and following up with direct calls.

She said the office made the decision to post a travel advisory for people from the seven countries affected by the executive order Saturday morning. Beginning Sunday, they called international students to address their concerns.

“We then started preparing materials and statements to the wider international student population because, in general, there is an overriding sense of uncertainty,” Barnum said.

Barnum said each student has different needs and UNC ISSS started a resource page so students and families can quickly access new information.

She said she believes the order has had a wide impact on campus, affecting everyone in some way.

“Almost every single major research group on this campus has at one time had someone from one of those countries in their research group, problem solving together,” Barnum said. “That’s why when you look at the major discoveries on campus, it’s because fine minds from all over the world are problem solving together.”

Delainey Kirkwood, a first-year international student from England, said she hopes everyone stays safe.

“I renewed my visa yesterday, but I felt sad because when I looked around I knew a lot of people aren’t safe,” Kirkwood said. “It’s not me that I am worried about, but I am worried about other immigrants.”

Kirkwood said UNC has maintained contact with her, frequently sending emails to offer support through counseling and informational updates.

Monica Mussack, a first-year international student from Guatemala, said she has many concerns about the future for immigrants.

“We know that it is not directly affecting us now, it’s more about your immigrant family,” Mussack said. “You see (Trump) doing it to these people; how long will it be until he does it to us? The wall building for me is a big thing. He’s trying to separate us and put a barrier between us and the States.”

Charlotte Smith, a first-year international student from France, said the immigration process has been difficult for her family, especially her father.

“My dad is English and has a green card. Every time we come through the border with him, he is always stopped and is held up for three hours and we have to wait with him,” Smith said. “That is traumatic within itself.”

She said she feels UNC is making an effort to reach out to her.

"(Chancellor Carol Folt) is clearly putting her students first and making sure they feel at home here. This is where I live and where I work. It is important for me to have this community and I feel the University wants to keep this community a place for students of all nationalities,” Smith said.


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