Students Need to Embrace Diversity and Inclusion at MSU

President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Jan. 27 that barred the immigration of people from seven majority-Muslim countries for 90 days, indefinitely barred the resettlement of eligible Syrian refugees in the United States and suspended most refugee resettlement for 120 days. The ban on Muslim countries includes Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Sudan and Syria.

On Monday, Jan. 29, MSU President Waded Cruzado sent an email to the MSU community that said there are “current and prospective students, faculty and staff who are being impacted by the executive order.” There are 21 MSU students who have been affected by the order. Cruzado assured everyone that the university was working diligently to develop the best options for those affected. The email ended with, “Every day, in everything we do at Montana State, we affirm our longstanding commitment to be a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment where all feel at home.”

I too, believe that everyone is welcome at MSU regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic class, gender identity and sexual orientation. Judging people purely based on one factor, such as religion, nationality, race or ethnicity, is incredibly dangerous. When we begin to judge people based on their nationality or their religion is when we lose our ability to truly ‘judge’ people at all. People are not solely their religion, or their race or anything else — they are complex individuals with interesting lives who bring much more than religion to the table.

Unfortunately, anti-Muslim hate crimes increased by 67 percent nationally from 2014 to 2015, and statisticians project further increases to be seen in 2016 data. Discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated on MSU’s campus. One look at MSU’s crime statistics will show you that we had zero hate crimes in 2015. While those statistics are promising, it still does not mean we don’t have discrimination on our campus. Discrimination can appear in various forms and is often much more subtle than a potential hate crime.

As students at MSU, it is our responsibility to ensure that all MSU students, faculty and staff, regardless of their background, feel comfortable and welcome on our campus. It is easy to not discriminate — all it entails is being a decent person. However, being a friendly face on campus is simply not enough. We must actively combat any forms of discrimination that we see, and we must speak up and step in if we see something unjust happening. Let’s welcome diversity with open arms because diversity is what makes us great.

To all of the Middle Eastern, Muslim and North African members of our community, thank you for enriching and enhancing our community with your presence.