— Students at the University of Hawaii at Oahu’s College of Science and Engineering were among several colleges around the country to shut down as a protest against President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown.
The protest, which began in New York City on Monday, was coordinated by students at the UH and began in response to a series of events in the U.S. and around the world that have raised concerns about Trump’s plans to restrict immigration and deport millions of people.
“We’re protesting the administration’s decision to close the Hawaiian campus and the decision to deport the students,” said Kiko Ramao, a senior studying in the College of Engineering.
Ramao said the UO is a leader in the field of engineering education and is “really proud” of its graduates.
“It’s the best college in the world and that’s the reason why we decided to go out on this protest,” she said.
Students at the College are the first college in Hawaii to shut its doors in protest against the Trump administration’s deportation plans.
David Ige signed an executive order in April that allows the federal government to revoke the visas of people from six Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Syria.
The order is intended to stem the flow of refugees from countries where vetting procedures have been delayed or violated by Trump’s administration.
The executive order also bars the UJ and the University from receiving federal grants and is subject to a $50 million fine.
Ige said in a statement that Hawaii is a nation of immigrants, and its colleges are home to more than 500,000 people who have been refugees.
“I will not stand by and watch our children and grandchildren be thrown into the dangerous and perilous waters of the world, and I will not allow the United States to become a magnet for the illegal aliens who are fleeing persecution and injustice,” he said.
The protests come as the UU is facing a shortage of teaching assistants and students, and the UHI’s enrollment has been cut by more than half.
In a statement on Tuesday, Ige said the administration was using “excessive and arbitrary measures to disrupt and shut down the educational process.”
“I am deeply disappointed in the President’s actions and the way they are being used to advance his agenda,” he added.
The UH has had some of the nation’s best engineering schools for more than a century.
It was founded by former presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Harry Truman.
It’s home to the University’s School of Medicine, the School of Law and the College, which offers more than 80 majors and 40 majors in STEM fields, such as engineering and biomedical sciences.
Students in the United Kingdom are expected to join the protest, and students at other UH colleges across the country have also been planning for the protests.
“In Hawaii, we have a large student body who are engaged in the process of learning about the world around them,” said student and UH graduate Allison Mazzola.
“The administration is targeting them and they are not just going to sit around and listen to them.
We want to participate and have an impact.”
In a letter to Trump, UH President Michael Kuhl called the actions “unacceptable” and said he had been in contact with the UCAO about the protests and the impact they may have on their campuses.
The College of Law will have a faculty advisory committee meeting on Tuesday.