Letters to the editor: Reducing student visas will hurt U.S.; support more inclusive laws; fight discriminatory dress codes

Reducing student visas will hurt the U.S. and quality of education

Recently, the Trump administration has begun planning to enforce stricter rules and regulations on international students. The New York Times reported in May the administration’s plans to shorten visas for international students and enforce punishments on students who overstay their visas. Furthermore, this September, The Atlantic reported the issuance of F-1 visas (student visas) is down 17 percent from 2016. If this aggressive agenda continues, not only can foreign relations be damaged, but the quality of education for citizens everywhere could decline.

A decline in the issuing of student visas can hinder international relationships because the move demonstrates an isolationist agenda. In addition to the tough stance on immigration, international students question whether they are welcome to study in the U.S. This all can impair diplomatic relations, trade negotiations, economic relationships and more. Furthermore, this decrease in U.S. student visas may compel countries to accept fewer American students to study in their countries.

International relations isn’t the only aspect that’s damaged by a decline in student visas, but the quality of education can diminish. Students gain the highest quality education when they are exposed to a variety of perspectives, cultures and values. A healthy exposure and challenge to one’s own beliefs can expand knowledge and develop values. Ask anyone who has studied abroad, and it’s likely they’ll say it was one of the most enriching and valuable time of their lives.

Although CU is unable to directly affect the issuing of visas, there are actions that can be taken to combat this belligerent agenda. One of the most crucial actions one can take is to vote and encourage others to vote. Electing officials who promote international study are crucial to a culturally inclusive community. Whatever your stance, it’s absolutely crucial to vote. Another effective method is to simply spread awareness. Whether that may be on social media, contacting current officials, or traveling abroad to promote similar ideas, raising awareness helps inform the public and spread the need for action.

Sam Kaufman, Boulder

Honor lost sisters and brothers by supporting more inclusive laws

In Mitchell Byers’ article published Nov. 23, “How do you combat hate?” we are taken to the Boulder County Courthouse for the Trans Day of Remembrance, where 22 transgender men and women who were lost this year were honored. Upon reading this, the first thing that came to mind was a song lyric from the song “Glorious” by Macklemore: “I heard you die twice, once when they bury you in the grave/And the second time is the last time that somebody mentions your name.”

For many people, it is easier to move along and look the other way when a tragedy occurs, which often means things are ignored. Ignorance is often easier to deal with than reality, and can cause us to make certain problems worse. By reading the names of our transgender brothers and sisters who we lost this year, we are not allowing their names and stories to be ignored, but rather are creating a legacy for them, one that allows them to make a difference, even in death.

Though Boulder is an accepting community for many LGBT+ individuals, there are still many states in which discrimination is not only practiced, but even legal. These laws are out of date and extremely discriminatory and yet are allowed to exist in our present day. Though we may be doing better than other places in our country, we can’t simply look the other way — we must make sure that this country is safe for us all, no matter what our gender, sexuality, race or religion.

For our 22 lost brothers and sisters, we must honor their legacy by allowing future generations to have a country where they are loved and accepted everywhere, especially in terms of the law. We can’t change the past, though we can shape the future, and by honoring the legacies of those we lost and making a real change, we can keep from losing so many beautiful souls in the years to come.

Lauren O’Neill, Boulder

Schools violate students’ rights when they discriminate with dress codes

In his Nov. 29 piece for the ACLU “My Black Son Was Sent Home from First Grade Because of His Natural Hair,” Clinton Stanley wrote about a school denying his first-grade son an education due to his hairstyle. Stanley makes it clear that for black culture, dreadlocks are tied closely to their identity. When Stanley’s son CJ wanted to grow them out, he was happy to help, but the school CJ was enrolled in thought differently, denying him from the school due to a violation of their dress code. Stanley decided to take legal action after witnessing a commercial for the school containing a white boy with hair going past his shoulders (far longer than CJ’s).

The idea that a school would deny someone of another race education because of a hairstyle that is part of their culture is ridiculous. It is also not the only time something like this has occurred in schools across the nation. Brown v. Board of Education was a 1954 landmark Supreme Court Case in which the court ruled that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. With a decision like this, how are we still struggling with school segregation and discrimination in 2018, 64 years later? It should be obvious that what happened to CJ and Clinton Stanley was completely wrong and unconstitutional.

Schools should be focusing on the well-being of their students and protecting their rights rather than denying education due to a hairstyle.

Alexander Dobak, Boulder

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