WMUL-FM hosts roundtable discussion with Marshall Administrators on Travel Ban

WMUL-F.M. hosted a roundtable discussion with several Marshall University administrators on Tuesday to relay more information to the Marshall community regarding the travel ban implemented at the end of January.

The executive order that prohibited entrance to the United States from several Middle Eastern countries imposed by President Donald Trump continues to cause fear and uncertainty among faculty and students at Marshall, despite being blocked by a federal judge.

The roundtable was moderated by WMUL News Director Kyra Biscarner and features Marshall President Jerry Gilbert, Executive Director of Admissions and International Student Services Tammy Johnson and Executive Director of INTO Marshall University Stephanie Hurley-Collier.

The roundtable is set to air on WMUL 88.1 F.M. at 4:45 p.m. Friday and again on Monday, Feb. 20 at 4:45 p.m. The roundtable can also be streamed live on the WMUL website at http://wfghhd5.streamon.fm/.

Gilbert said talking about issues like this in an open setting allows for more clarity and transparency as to what the university’s position is on the executive order.

“It’s important to talk about the ban because when you write about it there is room to misinterpret and not think that the position is perhaps as strong as it might need to be,” Gilbert said, “so I think this type of roundtable gives us an opportunity to clarify things and to talk in more detail about it and to expose the students at Marshall as to our positions on the travel ban.”

“I think every time we have an opportunity to get together and talk about issues like this it does good in terms of further educating people of the situation,” Gilbert said. “We need to make sure that people are aware of what the current information is, what the current status is as things change and I think it’s important that we digest that information and get that information out to our students, particularly those who are impacted.”

During the roundtable, Johnson said the travel ban may repel foreign individuals who are considering studying abroad at Marshall.

“If a student outside the U.S. is considering the U.S. or another country to study abroad, right now they are likely going to choose the other country where they feel more certain they are going to be more accepted and welcome,” Johnson said. “In terms of international recruitment, the negative impact is there not only for this coming year, but it could be for several years to come.”

Hurley-Collier said that international students who are unfamiliar with how the political system works in the United States may feel especially anxious about the uncertainty regarding the executive order.

“I think initially a lot of our students were overwhelmed. They had a lot of questions about whether they themselves were included, what the ban might mean for them and also the additional layer of not understanding what an executive order is and what its powers and limitations are,” Hurley-Collier said.

“They have the additional complexity of trying to understand the United States court system, and not many Americans fully understand what that looks like, so being an international student, specifically those who are here to study English, they have some additional challenges in terms of trying to wrap their minds around what this might mean for them.”

This roundtable discussion is just one of several public affairs programs hosted by WMUL in recent years.

Adam Stephens can be contacted at [email protected].