On January 27, President Donald Trump issued an executive order temporarily prohibiting refugees from seven majority Muslim countries from settling in the United States. St. Kate’s is home to students of many race, ethnicity, and background. Concerned that the executive order may dishearten St. Kate’s Muslim students, Sia Vang, assistant director of the Abigail Quigley McCarthy Center for Women, and Sharon Doherty, director of the Abigail Quigley McCarthy Center for Women, surprised the Muslim Student Association on Thursday with a room full of supportive staff and students.
“Our campus is a family and I wanted to strengthen, uphold, and highlight that for our Muslim students,” said Vang. “We wanted to make space for people to come together to voice and process their thoughts[…]and that they are not alone in this.” Her hope is that students and staff continue to stand up for each other, support and defend one another. She believes every person and department can be involved in this provision.
The meeting started off with a prayer in Arabic, thanking God for the safe place and asking for peace to be upon everyone. The meeting was then opened up to all attendees to voice any concerns or hopes in light of the executive order. Students and staff took turns speaking, sharing their concerns, fears, and hope. There was laughter and tears throughout the meeting as many stood up to speak in support of St. Kate’s Muslim students.
Ikram Koliso, current president of the Muslim Student Association, was surprised to see the turnout.
“I believe the best thing that came out of this event was, that we, Muslim students, were overjoyed with the support from the St. Kate’s community,” said Koliso. She hopes this event will inspire people to continue advocating for issues that are important to them. “I think we can use [this] gathering to mobilize ourselves to make our voices heard about the injustices occurring, especially in today’s political climate.”
President Roloff was also present to reiterate her support for Muslim students at St. Kate’s. In December, she had stated, “We welcome students of all backgrounds, and regardless of national or ethnic origin. Each of you has and will have a place in this University community. This is as true now as when our founders welcomed the daughters of immigrants in 1905. Let us all hold on to the thought that each of us does belong, and because we do, we are in a position to notice those who may feel left out for whatever reason.”
On February 9, the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling, which effectively suspended the executive immigration order, according to Minnesota Public Radio news. President Donald Trump and the Department of Justice has not yet ruled out a Supreme Court appeal.
The Muslim Student Association meets every Thursday from noon to one p.m. in the Center for Women, located in the Coeur de Catherine.