FSU president ‘deeply concerned’ over Trump’s executive order on immigration

By Troy Kinsey, Capitol Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, January 30, 2017, 7:38 PM EST

John Thrasher, the president of Florida State University, is "deeply concerned" about the impact President Donald Trump's executive order that halts immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries could have on the school's international students and faculty.

  • FSU president said he is "deeply concerned" about immigration ban
  • John Thrasher said it could impact the school's international students, faculty

In an open letter to the university community in the wake of Trump's order, Thrasher wrote, "confusion and uncertainty are causing disruption and worry among students, researchers, faculty and staff who are citizens of the countries involved in the ban, as well as their colleagues and friends."

Thrasher, who has long been a prominent voice in the state's Republican political circles, also cautioned international students and faculty from the affected countries "not to make any plans to leave the United States."

In an interview Monday, Thrasher, a former Republican speaker of the Florida House and the one-time chair of the Republican Party of Florida, suggested he had staked out his position on the immigration ban without regard to the popularity of the ultra-nationalistic fervor coursing through some elements of the GOP.

"My main concern is I want our students to know that we've worked hard in the last two years to make sure that they know this is an inclusive university — it's a diverse university — and we care about all of our students," Thrasher said. "My concern is for my students and for our faculty, and that'll be the first and foremost concern, not partisan politics."

The reaction to the immigration ban by Thrasher and scores of other university presidents comes as some Republicans, including Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, are hailing the Trump administration's action as long overdue.

"Your bold action in recent executive orders demonstrates that enforcement of immigration laws and security of our borders are more than just campaign promises and will be priorities in your administration," Corcoran wrote in a letter to Trump. "Thank you for fighting to correct past neglect and, on behalf of the Florida House of Representatives, I offer our support."

Republican politicians, however, rarely interface with immigrants to the degree that university presidents do. But, the fear that Trump's order has prompted has been widespread — and impactful.

"It's a concern to students, you know, who are international students, and people from other countries and faculty members and all that," Thrasher said. "I just sent out something I thought was a calming type of, hopefully, gesture on our behalf that we're concerned and we're going to work to see that we can get the facts and the information to them."