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Professors, Students Gather over Trump Immigration Order

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Article Written By David Hall

Photo Courtesy of Ars Technica

Students, staff, and professors lled the few seats in the atrium of the Colket Center. When those seats lled, people sat criss-cross on the oor or stood. And when that space became scarce, even more ventured to look down from the railings above.

The crowd gathered Tuesday after- noon for a teach-in, presented by student group “Every Campus a Refuge,” to discuss President Donald Trump’s new executive order regarding immigration from several majority Muslim countries.

11 professors from departments ranging from public policy to Latin American history sat shoulder to shoulder, semi-circled around what became a makeshift forum. Senior Wes Knowles, one of the event’s organizers, served as the moderator for the event.

After Trump’s order was issued on Friday, Knowles and his fellow club members set off organizing. Knowles said he was re- lieved by professor’s willingness to participate in the event.

“We had so many faculty members [present] that we didn’t have time for them all to speak,” said Knowles. “I think the Roanoke students took an opportunity to look both outward and inward to see the world from the perspective of the most disadvantaged and to really take an opportunity to face some of the questions.”

Dr. Joshua Rubongoya, a professor with the public affairs department, spoke emphatically both about the wrongness of the president’s actions, as well as what he sees as its counterintuitiveness to what the United States stands for. Dr. Jonathan Snow, also a public affairs faculty member who worked in Washington the years following 9/11, remarked about the ineffectiveness of the order from a strategic perspective.

College President Mike Maxey was also in attendance, where he thanked the faculty’s contributions and offered some words of his own. He encouraged students to stay active in the democratic process, citing alumnus and Virginia delegate Sam Rasoul as an example.

“I know there are people in this room who can reach that level and make a difference,” said Maxey. “You can become leaders in the way we’re talking about. I challenge you if this speaks to you now and I hope you will seek this in your future. Don’t give up on that.”