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We are from Kuwait. Our university often has many foreign professors visiting for extended periods.

In my particular department, the head has now begun rejecting professors from the US, and starting to send those back who are here already, the reason being that this is in response to the immigration ban imposed on Muslims from certain countries (however not Kuwait) by the US.

How should one deal with this as a student in this department? My first reaction was that this is obviously wrong and unfair, but I know from my advisor that the department head also feels that it is unfair to the rest of the world's professors that Americans can ban others from entering their country, but in turn can themselves go almost anywhere they want. So it is according to him a fair policy.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Wrzlprmft, BrianH, Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩, David Richerby, Dmitry Savostyanov Feb 6 '17 at 6:47

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • This is not the place to debate or offer opinions on immigration policy/reactions to other countries' immigration policies, whether in answers or comments. The "on topic" nature of this question is in asking about how a student who has an opinion on such matters can make their opinion heard; not what opinion the OP should have. – ff524 Feb 6 '17 at 6:49
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As a student, unfortunately there is probably nothing you can do about the situation -- except to remind yourself that one day you might be in a position of power and influence yourself, and able to do things differently.

Things might be different if there were was a particular American professor you wanted to invite to campus for academic reasons. In that case I would express to your chair that you understand his concerns, but talk about what you hoped to gain academically from such a visit.

The immigration ban is strongly opposed by many American academics. If there iss someone particular you would like to invite, you might ask if he/she has done anything to fight the ban (e.g. calling one's senators, participating in protests, donating to the ACLU). In such a situation, your chair might be willing to reconsider.

That said, I would not recommend pushing the issue hard if at all. You are still a student, and as such you don't have a lot of political clout.

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    I don't know much about Kuwaiti universities. However in many countries students can work through their student union. This has two effects. First, you are less exposed as an individual than if you act as an individual. Second, by working with other students with similar concerns you are more likely to have an effect. – Theodore Norvell Feb 5 '17 at 20:35
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Here are some ideas for you to think about. I don't know which, if any, would be safe and comfortable for you. Please check your university's policies, and ask for advice from fellow students and trusted professors, before going out on a limb!

  • Speak privately to the visitors who have been asked to leave, expressing your regret.

  • Arrange for remote collaboration with the visitors who will be leaving, and the candidates who are being rejected for visits.

  • Propose a position statement to a student organization or a campus-wide organization.

  • Organize an anti-Trump demonstration. Perhaps you could invite some professors from the U.S. to participate.

  • Meet with some university official above your department head -- this might be more effective if you did this with some like-minded colleagues.

  • Put a sign on your office door, or where you live, as many private citizens are doing in the U.S. now, for example, "All Are Welcome Here."

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You, as a student, cannot do anything about this other than being heard to be appreciative of those American professors who have taught you. If we assume that the presence of American professors was an asset to your university, those above the department head will notice. You can hope they will take appropriate action.

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The entry ban as currently implemented is temporary in nature. It is fundamentally a move in a political game internal to the USA, as the new president attempts to realign his country's power bases.

The ban will eventually, probably in 30 to 90 days, be replaced by a relatively more considered foreign policy. No one, not even The Donald himself, knows what that policy will be.

Therefore I must counsel patience. As a student, you must be doubly patient. You must wait through the period while the real new USA foreign policy emerges, then wait for your university staff and administration to back down from their impatient reactions, and wait some more while the real new university policy emerges. Then you can usefully respond to something that is more than short-lived noise.

The American people, wildly unpredictable even in the best of times, are presently rioting in the streets. Your department head is wasting his time trying to formulate a sane response to the policy decisions a great nation currently in the throes of a political tantrum.

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