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Sacred Heart U Shows Solidarity With Muslim Students After Immigration Ban

Sacred Heart University President John Petillo
Sacred Heart University President John Petillo Photo Credit: Skip Pearlman

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Sacred Heart University in Fairfield is advising students from countries outlined in President Donald Trump's immigration ban not to leave the country at this time.

In a letter to the school community, SHU President John J. Petillo reached out to those affected by Trump's executive order that denies citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days, and bars refugees from entry into the country for 120 days.

Petillo wrote that the school will work to help students from the impacted countries, and that SHU will hold a service Tuesday afternoon in solidarity with Muslim students.

"This order goes against everything that Sacred Heart University stands for. We are Catholic in tradition and spirit. We uphold the God-given freedom and dignity of every human person. This is true both inside and outside the classroom," Petillo said.

Welcoming students of all religions, beliefs and ethnicities has been a hallmark of the university since its founding in 1963, Petillo said. 

"We have always known that our commitment to diversity makes us stronger."

The staff of the SHU Offices of Global Affairs, Graduate, International and Veteran Student Affairs, International Admissions and Immigration and Support Services are available to help students, and will continue to follow the ramifications of the order and will inform students as the situation unfolds. Petillo said the staff of the Campus Ministry is also available to all students.

He advised students who are from countries outlined in the order not to leave the country at this time.

"We are committed to ensuring that all our students know that they are valued members of the SHU community and that they feel welcome and safe. This is—and always has been—a very special community where we care for one another."

"Today, more than ever, it is imperative that we are sensitive and caring to those around us. Please take the time to reach out to those in the Sacred Heart University community who are affected by this order," he wrote.

The service, "Welcome the Immigrant and the Refugee: In Solidarity with our Muslim Students," will be held at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in the SHU Chapel. All are welcome to attend.

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