The International Office received emails from 50 students within 48 hours of their announcement. Photo: Jaclyn McRae-Sadik.
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Students will receive aid in finding housing and be credited for U.S. courses

In response to the travel ban issued by the United States government against seven Muslim-majority countries, the University of Ottawa has announced that it will be taking measures to assist students affected by this executive order.

According the Gary Slater, the U of O’s associate vice-president of student and international affairs, the project is focused on taking in citizens of the seven countries who were either planning on moving to the U.S. this upcoming September, or who were studying in the U.S., left the country, and are now having trouble getting back in.

While the pilot project is being spearheaded by the International Office, Slater said that they will be working with other departments in the coming months.

Slater said that just an hour after the announcement was issued by the International Office, they received their first email from a student who required aid.

“It’s those kinds of situations—emergency situations, humanitarian situationsthat we want to deal with,” said Slater.

Within 48 hours of their Feb. 1 announcement, the International Office received emails from 50 students who needed help. While Slater said that they are trying to help as many students as they can, coordinating the project is still a work in progress.

“We really don’t know what to expect, quite frankly,” said Slater. “We will have to deal with this on a case-by-case basis.”

According to their website, the U of O will:

  • Integrate U.S. students into similar U of O programs of study and research teams under the supervision of a professor who can provide support.
  • Accelerate the processing of admissions by providing credits for courses taken in the U.S.
  • Work with Canadian immigration officials so that affected students are assigned a status allowing them to study in Canada without returning to their country of origin.
  • Implement a tuition fee exemption program to allow students to study in the fall 2017 term for the same price as Canadian students.
  • Help students find summer courses and housing, and access the U of O’s support services.

“We support the free flow of information … universities are supposed to defend freedom, so it’s a no brainer for us. We need to do our part,” said Slater.