At Graduate Student Senate, Interim President David Descutner reaffirmed the university’s support of international students in light of President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban.
“I think most people know that from the very beginning long before we had precedent, and this administration, we have taken a very strong stance on international issues and certainly in defense of international faculty and students,” he said. “The president’s office is already taking a strong stance on that and is in support of our faculty and students, specifically those affected by the first executive order.”
He also mentioned that former President Emeritus Roderick McDavis took action before the first bill was approved, and that defense of international members of OU’s community comes from more than just the Office of the President but from the full spectrum of the university.
Descutner also addressed how the university will protect undocumented students, particularly DACA students. Lorna Jean Edmonds, who holds a doctorate in development studies and is the vice provost for Global Affairs and International Studies, stated later in the meeting that only eight of the DACA students are registered with the university, but more may exist.
Descutner said he signed a letter that will be posted to OU’s website Wednesday that calls for the support and safety of undocumented students in the community. He reminded the body that McDavis signed a statement in support of DACA students before President Donald Trump took office.
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to do what we can to ensure that all are informed and that the necessary systems are in place to advocate for those faculty and students that are most affected,” he said.
Edmonds headed off the last question on the topic, which asked if a stronger stance was coming from the president’s office, saying a letter had been drafted for his consideration but no stance was made during the meeting.
Student Senate SAC Commissioner Eleanor Holbrook spoke out at Graduate Senate, clarifying that SAC is not responsible for funding the recently passed Student Senate bill for portable toilets at this year’s fests. She also clarified that graduate students are eligible to use SAC funding for their events.
“SAC is here for your benefit as well,” she said.
Several items were passed from the agenda, including the appointment of Sheetal Dakshina Murthy to Department Representative for Civil Engineering, an amendment to the rules and procedures clarifying how to train new Senate members, and created the Task Force for International Immigrant and Undocumented Students’ Rights. An amendment to the rules to allow electronic voting on time-sensitive resolutions was also passed.
The last item on the agenda was a timeline for proposing amendments, but it was tabled.
Graduate Student Senate meets every other week at 7:30 p.m. in Walter 235. Its next meeting will be March 14.