Due to the decisions of one man and his administration, news coverage and protests across America and the world, there is a great deal of uncertainty in the hearts and minds of the international community.
The impending travel ban, which was blocked by a federal appeals court last week, still worries the international students, faculty and staff at South Dakota State University.
Every person who walks on campus is a Jackrabbit. Whether that is in the past, present or potentially in the future, members of the SDSU community should treat each other as such and with respect.
That is why we, at The Collegian, believe all international people deserve to feel like SDSU is their home.
But there is a disconnect.
A disconnection between domestic students and international students.
A disconnection between students and international faculty.
A disconnection between people.
The detachment can be the result of numerous things, some of which may be unintentional. One thing that may have caused the separation is a language barrier. Understanding tone and vocal dictation is imperative to learning and understanding other perspectives in the classroom and in social settings.
A second reason for the disconnection is because of news outlets. While sharing news to each region of the world is nothing new, the thing that might be causing isolation is the influence of news coverage.
The travel ban and how it is being portrayed could possibly influence those who are not directly affected by the ban but form an opinion based on “alternative facts.”
Another occurrence that could play a part in this disconnection is the media and their comparison of the past and present.
Many news outlets like CNN, which compared the ban to the deportation of Iranian students during the Jimmy Carter presidency, have scrutinized the current travel ban proposal. By comparing the state of the nation to infamous events of the past, it brings up that same fear experienced years ago. For many, the fear felt during the Carter administration with deportation of Iranian students, has trickled down into the turmoil associated with the travel ban.
Similarly, POLITICO analyzed a comparison of Adolf Hitler and the choices he made while in power to the decisions of President Donald Trump and his administration. While this discussion is just that, a discussion, Hitler is a name we all grew up learning to fear.
When comparing an infamous name in history to the man who is leading the United States, this will absolutely have an effect on people today. These comparisons will bring up the fear we all once learned and can become reality for the community at SDSU.
Despite this fear being instilled by news coverage of the travel ban, we, at The Collegian, believe students, staff and faculty should not let their opinions of their international peers be swayed negatively.
Last, the disconnect could be due to Donald Trump’s presidency and the results of the election in South Dakota. According to POLITICO, Trump won South Dakota with 60 percent of the vote and South Dakota continues to be a red state.
By being labeled a Republican state and seemingly surrounded by people who support Trump, the international community may not feel welcome or accepted here due to the Trump administration’s beliefs.
As a result, there is a lack of communication and conversation between those of differing cultural backgrounds.
That is why we, at The Collegian, believe it is necessary to recognize and acknowledge the disconnect, then initiate the steps to bridge the gap between domestic and international students.
To help, we came up with a list of things everyone can do to acknowledge and support the international community at SDSU.
To begin, recognize your own personal bias. Remove the label of “international” in front of students and start to see the people around you, not as different, but the same, with varying life experiences.
Then, once you’ve started to understand your own opinion, take the initiative to get to know the campus community by attending international nights, like Africa Night, or join an organization, like the International Relations Council (IRC) on campus.
Something every person on campus can do is try to understand the situation that many in the country are finding themselves in: the feeling of an unstable political era in the United States, which is causing social unrest.
Consider the anxiety surrounding their families and careers.
Take into account their feelings regarding the ban and their country of origin.
Remember that this is reality for a lot of people. This is not a situation to be taken lightly.