Academics United, students protest travel ban


Jill Itzen/Iowa State Daily

The Hoodies and Hijabs rally ended out in front of Parks Library, where students and faculty members spoke. 

Rachel Ori

The Agora was packed Thursday afternoon with hundreds of students sending a clear message: no ban, no wall.

The protest, put on by Academics United, targeted President Donald Trump’s recent executive order that barred citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The ban is set to last for a minimum of 90 days and could be extended.

More than 130 Iowa State students are impacted by the ban and have voiced their concern over the issue in the past weeks.

If a student from one of the seven countries included in the ban were to leave the United States in the coming 90 days, they may not be able to return to Iowa State and continue their education.

The protest intersected with the Hoodies and Hijab Solidarity March that took place earlier in the day.

The marchers made their way to the Agora chanting, “No ban, no wall, sanctuary for all.”

Many marchers and individuals at the protest held up signs that displayed how they’re impacted by the ban.

One sign read, “Now I have to choose between family and school,” while another read, “I’m banned from seeing my mom.”

The individuals were surrounded by supporters, both inside and outside the Iowa State community.

Vice President for Student Affairs Martino Harmon spoke at the protest, discussing what Iowa State is doing in response to the ban.

Harmon said Iowa State holds no discrimination in admitting students, and that no discrimination is tolerated by campus police.

“I stand with you in solidarity,” Harmon said. “We are all a part of the Cyclone family.”

Harmon informed the crowd that immigration attorneys will be on campus at 6 p.m. Feb. 14 and Feb. 20 to answer questions that students may have about the ban.

The International Student and Scholars Office webpage also has a question and answer section about the ban.

Mostafa Amin-Naseri, graduate student in industrial engineering, attended the protest. He said the protesters wanted to represent what they believed was wrong with the ban.

“The way of approaching this problem is against the values of this country, [and] the morals and ethics of most people,” Amin-Naseri said.

Jonathan Sturm, president of Faculty Senate, also spoke at the protest. He told the crowd that citizens of every country want to live in peace and contribute to the world, but they can’t do that if they’re living in fear.

“Fear takes away from learning,” Sturm said. “I will do my best, as a faculty member, … to stand with you.”

Members of the Ames community also were at the protest to show their support.

Shannon Evans said she was there because, “… when it affects parts of us, it affects all of us.”

Later that day, a federal appeals panel refused to reinstate President Trump’s travel ban, according to the New York Times. 

Academics United has visited college campuses all across the country in the last few weeks to protest the ban. Iowa State and the University of Iowa had their protests Thursday, and other universities are expected to follow suit in the coming days.

A student from Somalia, one of the countries included in the ban, wrapped up the protest by thanking those in attendance.

“Thank you for standing with us,” the student said. “We are all Cyclones.”