By BAY STEPHENS/Montana State News
Signs appeared near the edges of campus last week reading “Saudi Students Belong Here” and “Muslim Students Belong Here” in response to President Trump’s travel ban. The ban has changed the climate of studying in the United States for students from the affected countries.
Ahmed Naji, a junior from Libya studying computer science, is one of 21 MSU students affected by the ban. Naji came to Montana in 2014 and has not seen his father since. The plan was for him to visit his son this spring but now, Naji said, “It seems that it’s not going to happen.”
Though less than ideal, Naji’s experience is not as bad as it could be. Thanks to active efforts by students and staff, he is able to say, “I feel safe on campus.” This isn’t as true off campus because he’s not sure how people are reacting to those of his background.
Along with Libya, the restricted countries include Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Yemen, and Sudan, according to CNN, and were identified under the Obama administration as “countries of concern.”
Three of these seven countries have been represented on the MSU campus between 2002 and 2014, according to the MSU Office of Planning and Analysis. Since 2014, the population of international students has grown to represent a more diverse population.
“I think it’s important to make people feel accepted,” said James Dufficy, an MSU junior from Colorado, “I mean, Bozeman isn’t a very diverse town, to say the least. But they’re here to get an education just like we are.”
– edited by Amanda Grover