University stands by undocumented students, immigrants


Marquette stock photo

During the afternoon of Jan. 30, University President Michael Lovell and several other university officials issued an official letter announcing support for all students, documented or not.

The letter, signed by Lovell, Provost Daniel J. Myers, vice president for mission and ministry the Rev. Tom Krettek, S.J. and newly appointed Marquette Student Government President Adam Kouhel, comes in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration ban executive order. The order prohibits Syrian refugees from entering the U.S. indefinitely and suspends all other refugees for 120 days. All people from seven Muslim-majority countries have also been blocked from entering the U.S. for 90 days: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

The letter said more than 135 years ago, Marquette was founded to provide education for everyone, not just some people. And today, as the school hosts people from over 72 countries, the university doesn’t intend to change that.

“Our Catholic and Jesuit tradition calls us to speak out. We stand with our international students and any other student whose family is impacted by this evolving situation,” the letter said. “Our mission states clearly that we at Marquette University offer personal attention and care to each member of the Marquette community.”

Nick Bury, a senior in the College of Education, said he appreciates how Lovell and the rest of the administration is handling the response to Trump.

“I have to admire (Lovell’s) commitment to standing by his religious principles,” Bury said. “I also liked his reference to the German immigrants who fled here. Looking to the past is important. It helps give perspective, and perspective can help foster empathy.”

The letter emphasized the resources available to undocumented students at the university.

“We welcome and benefit enormously from the diversity of seekers within our ranks,” the letter said. “And for all members of the Marquette community to give concrete expression to their beliefs by giving of themselves in service to those in need.”

Clare Danielson, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she found the letter refreshing.

“I think it’s cool that (Lovell) genuinely cares about all students no matter what their background is,” Danielson said. “I think it’s a nice break from such negativity surrounding the election. I’m glad he’s putting Marquette before anything else.”

Tadhg Scully, a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said he was proud to attend a Jesuit university that is willing to take a public stance on immigration issues.

“The type of legislation, and even more so executive action, that is being taken against immigrants goes beyond politics and enters the realm of justice and human rights. Regardless of political inclination, all students, especially Catholic students, should be able to recognize the humanity in every person,” he said.

“Marquette choosing to stand with our DREAMer and undocumented students shows our dedication to the Jesuit values, and provides a beacon of hope to those students who may feel as though they’re becoming unjustly unwelcome in this country,” Scully said.

The letter referenced Pope Francis as a reminder to continue building bridges. It said the university’s door will always be open for everyone, and will do everything in the its power to keep it that way.

The university ended its letter by reminding students to live by its slogan, “we are Marquette.”

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