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MSU will not release the immigration status of students, officials say

January 29, 2017
<p>Hannah Administration Building on Aug. 29, 2015. Courtney Kendler/The State News</p>

Hannah Administration Building on Aug. 29, 2015. Courtney Kendler/The State News

Photo by Courtney Kendler | The State News

Update: 11:15 p.m.

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon responded to Trump’s executive order on immigration in a statement Sunday. She said:

“President Trump’s executive order on immigration is deeply concerning as it runs counter to the global nature of our communities and our nation. At MSU, our core values are quality, inclusiveness, and connectivity, and this action is an impediment to each. I am keenly aware of the need to address genuine risks to our nation but this order, and the manner it was implemented, is not the best approach. I join my AAU colleagues and other higher education leaders in expressing our concerns regarding the collateral damage caused by this action and calling for a quick end to the order. We must protect our borders, but we also must ensure we do not stem the flow of people of goodwill who come and work to make this nation better. Our students and scholars come from around the world to become Spartans, and then return to the world to make it better. We must not allow fear to change the nature of who we are.

We have an executive team led by Steve Hanson, Associate Provost and Dean for International Studies and Programs, that is constantly monitoring the situation and communicating with affected faculty, staff and students.”

The statement also included a link to a letter written by James Dorsett, Office for International Students and Scholars, which can be found here.

Update: 2:45 p.m.

MSU spokesman Jason Cody said MSU’s policy of not releasing student immigration status is just the status quo for the university.

“That’s nothing new or nothing we’re doing, that’s just how we operate,” he said.

Cody also said the meetings that will take place within MSU this week will be private meetings and will not be open for public comment. These meetings will include MSU employees from offices across campus, including IST, OISS, General Council and Student Services.

“These are just people meeting, these are just people doing the course of their business,” Cody said. “These are just people at MSU doing their jobs.”

It is currently unclear as to whether MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon will issue a statement regarding the recent executive order.

“You have to remember, this wasn’t a decision MSU made, this is something that was handed down that we’re reacting to,” Cody said. “I would encourage any member of the community who has concerns to express those to their lawmakers, to their legislators.”

MSU will not release the immigration status of students unless compelled by law, a recent statement from the university confirmed.

The statement is in response to President Donald Trump's recent executive order on Muslim immigrants and refugees, which ends Visa issuing to migrants or visitors from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — all predominantly Muslim countries — suspends the U.S. refugee resettlement program for at least 120 days and bars refugees from the United States.

"Not supplying students’ immigration status is just standard operating procedure for us at MSU," MSU spokesman Jason Cody said in an email. "Due to our own policies and already existing federal law, we would not provide any students’ private information, immigration status or otherwise, unless compelled by law."

Concerns about how the ban would affect students came to light when the University of Michigan released a statement about the ban, stating the university will not release the immigration status of its students.

In the email, Cody said, "a group of folks from across campus" met Friday evening after monitoring the situation for a few weeks. Cody also said MSU officials will meet this week to understand other university operations that might be impacted by the executive order.

It is currently unclear whether these meetings will be public or private and when and where they will take place.

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Thus far, the university has made direct communication with students from affected countries, Cody said.

Stay with The State News for updates to this story as more information becomes available.


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