Sunday night, Chancellor Folt sent an email to faculty and students addressing President Trump’s executive order that initiated a travel ban for seven Muslim-majority countries.
Though this message was clearly meant to allay fears regarding the status of members of the University’s international community, it invited more questions than answers.
The primary question most notably left untouched was whether or not the University would comply with the executive order, if prompted by the federal government, by releasing its students’ immigration information. Both Duke University and the University of Michigan have come out unequivocally against the travel ban, and are on record stating that they would refuse to hand over such information without a subpoena.
That University administrators did not explicitly submit the same kind of reassurance is inexcusable.
Statements reaffirming our international community as “essential to our vibrant Carolina community” are meaningless and hollow, unless they’re backed up by the promise that the University will unequivocally side with its students — regardless of nationality.
Furthermore, the fact that Folt did not direct international students to Counseling and Psychological Services — as is normal for emails regarding traumatic events that affect our campus — belies the University’s inadequate grasp of international students’ perspectives.
When Folt wrote that “(UNC Global) and many others across campus stand ready to help,” it would have been appropriate for her to enumerate the specific resources available to international students for emotional and logistical support.
It is encouraging that the Faculty Executive Committee is releasing a statement of solidarity with international students, but Chancellor Folt and the administration should have sent out a more resolute message: xenophobia will not be tacitly endorsed by this University.