On Monday, Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel released a statement concerning international faculty, staff and students after President Donald Trump’s immigration-related executive order.
President Tressel may be a little late in reassuring YSU’s international population — Kent State University President Beverly Warren released a similar statement on Sunday — but it is still vital that he spoke out.
First, YSU just expanded its international studies program. In November, the university partnered with around a dozen Asian universities to expand the current international studies program, which recruits students from places in the Middle East, parts of Europe, Asia and Australia.
There also have been expansions and changes in the location and size of the international activities and programs to better accommodate foreign students and staff, which have no doubt taken time and money to enhance.
Second, the university benefits from inviting international students to attend class here.
YSU is a primarily commuter college, with a majority of students and staff living within an hour of university property. Some of these areas are considered more rural and do not have accurate representation when it comes to different cultures.
Students at YSU learn not only from their instructors and books, but also from each other. Having Penguins from all over the world exposes students to different cultures outside of their own — something that grows more important by the day.
The time and money invested in the international studies program are one thing, but in all honesty, if President Tressel didn’t speak out concerning the program and the seven students from YSU that are from said ‘banned’ countries, seven Youngstown State Penguins would be excluded and left behind.
Finally, and most importantly, to turn one’s back on said international students would be a disgrace to everything our university has strived to stand for — acceptance, unity and community through education.
As soon as a potential student agrees to attend our university, they are one of us, regardless of place of birth, ethnicity, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
The university can and should fight for international students’ right to be here. YSU welcomes and supports each and every student to its campus.
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