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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Florida university presidents weigh in on Trump order; noon protest at USF

Kent Fuchs, president of the University of Florida

[Associated Press]

Kent Fuchs, president of the University of Florida



The presidents of two of Florida's largest universities have weighed in on President Trump's executive order on immigration as protests over the action moved to college campuses Monday -- including the University of South Florida.

Tampa Bay Times higher education writer Claire McNeill is at a noon rally on USF's Tampa campus. Follow her at @clairemcneill for updates.

In a statement Sunday, University of Florida President Kent Fuchs affirmed the school's support for international students, faculty and staff. He said UF has about 7,000 international students, including about 200 from the countries affected by the order. He said the school is advising those students "not to travel outside the U.S. in the immediate future."

Fuchs also said: "Embracing all members of our community and maintaining a welcoming environment for talented students and faculty from around the world are central to our values and identity as a university. It is also critical to excellence in education, research, economic development and other contributions to society."

Florida State University President John Thrasher issued a similar statement, saying the school was "deeply concerned" about the new policy and urging international students to stay in the country.

Thrasher added: "We all know that our university has long been enriched and strengthened by the cultural and intellectual diversity these scholars contribute. In the classroom, the laboratory, institutes, centers and colleges, they are conducting vitally important work that adds to the body of knowledge while broadening the educational experience for all FSU students. We appreciate them, and their safety and security will be our highest priority."

As of this writing, USF President Judy Genshaft had issued no statement on the order. However, university provost Ralph Wilcox sent out an email saying the school has urged students from the seven affected countries not to travel out of the country.

He added: "We want our international students, faculty and staff to be able to focus on what first brought them to USF: the pursuit of a world class education and the opportunity to contribute in meaningful ways to the scholarly life of a top tier global research university and the communities we serve. We are deeply committed to providing a warm and welcoming campus to students, faculty and staff from around the world." 

[Last modified: Monday, January 30, 2017 12:16pm]


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