Pitt, UPJ react to order

Rachel Logan, Copy Editor

President Donald Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order limiting travelers from seven countries resulted in an email from Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher condemning the action.

Gallagher said Pitt community members planning to travel to and from the seven countries should contact the university’s International Service Office for updated advice.

“Our country was founded by individuals escaping from persecution based on their religion. Our government was founded on a belief that all men are created equal. We are a nation of immigrants whose history was enriched by the waves of immigrants crossing onto our shores,” his email reads.

Similarly, he wrote, “Our University’s remarkable success story has been written by individuals who came from all over the world—by men and women who shared all types of religious beliefs.  They came to Pittsburgh to learn, to teach, to discover, and to serve. Without question, we are a better university because of them.”

One Pitt-Johnstown professor is highly concerned about the order.

Geography instructor Ahmed Massasati, is originally from Syria, one of the seven countries affected by the executive order.

“(The order) is preventing Muslims from different countries from coming to the United States,” Massasati said.

“The countries that were chosen are ones who can’t fight back and are under stress. Acts of terrorism never came from these countries. He’s taking people who are oppressed and adding more oppression.

“He’s using us as an excuse. He wants a targeted group. Muslims are in a bad shape now; that’s why he chose Muslims.”

Massasati said that Syria used to be the land of refugees, and that people used to immigrate there, as the region supports a rich community.

“But when Syrians need help, the world starts going against them,” he said.

“This is not only against Muslims, but against a lot of different things this country stands for. This is what tyrants do.”

Massasati said he hopes this is just a phase, and that he can’t believe what is going on.

“Education is the only way.”

He said that an ignorant person might go along with anything, but an educated person would make smarter decisions for themselves.

“I teach geography centered on the Middle East. I teach real things, not what (students) imagine.”

College Democrats officers declined to comment on the travel limitations.

College Republicans president Patrick Troy relayed some of his club’s members’ thoughts that centered on the potential safety the limits might provide.

Kate Recklein, a college Republicans member, said she was on the fence about the order.

“I think he’s (Trump) really trying to put our safety as first priority with current global problems, like ISIS and such. However, I think it’s taking a step backward when it comes to embracing cultural diversity. I do think his executive order will save us one day.”

Member Holli Wilt was similarly uncertain.

“This world is so unpredictable, and I do believe President Trump is looking out for the safety of America, which I thank him for.

“I don’t necessarily believe that banning select immigrant populations based on media stereotypes is the right thing. However, I understand why he did it.

“This country was founded on immigration, and people look at America as a symbol of hope-what is the world if we have no hope?”