On Thursday afternoon at the Reflection Pond, UCF students from Academics United took to protest against the Muslim Ban and rallied peacefully around the campus.
Academics United started a peaceful rally at the Reflection Pond early Thursday, leading to a march throughout UCF: from the Reflection Pond to the Student Union to Memory Mall and back to the Student Union. There, they discussed the ways the Muslim Ban impacted UCF students and their families.
Hundreds of students of various cultures and ethnicities came out to protest this executive order carried out by President Donald J. Trump. UCF faculty also came out in solidarity with the students; both administrators and students peacefully connected with one another and marched through UCF with their signs.
One student who came out, Thierry Adrien, a junior at UCF studying International and Global Studies, held signs supporting the protest.
“They’re not allowed to see their families,” he said about the Iranian students at the rally, “they’re worried about their status in the country, they’re worried about their studies, and they had all these ideas about what America stands for. But in one day, it all changes. This is not us. This is not what I believe in.”
Academics United is an organization that focuses on the education of everyone and not just a select group of students. It is inclusive, and focuses on offering educational benefits to all.
One of the organizers of the event, who declined to disclose his name, studies Optics and Photonics at UCF and is about to graduate with his Ph.D in May. “I am currently looking for a job here in the states,” he said, “but now I’m unsure of whether I will be allowed to obtain my green card or not because of this ban.”
He also spoke about the UCF students who are banned from entering the country; even some of his friends were having troubles getting back to UCF to continue their studies.
“One of my friends was blocked from entering the US after visiting her family in Iran, even with her green card,” he said. “After a few days, policies softened and she was allowed back in, but she was questioned for over six hours when she returned to MCO.”
The protest went a long way in educating those who are not affected by the ban what people are having to go through to even step foot in the US now. Most protesters directly affected by the ban taped papers to their chest reading, “I am a student. Not seen my family for (various) days. Don’t know when I can see them again!”
After the march around campus, the protesters wrapped up by meeting in the Student Union to speak about the issues impacting Iranian and other Middle Eastern students at UCF.
By: Rob DiDonna and Jordan Sirokie