Students from several organizations protested Thursday the executive order that President Donald Trump signed to suspend immigration of Syrian refugees and limit immigration from six other countries in the Middle East.
The protest took place outside of the John C. Hitt Library and consisted of students sitting or standing quietly before proceeding to walk around Memory Mall.
The Iranian Student Association organized the protest with help from other organizations, such as the Graduate Society of Physics Students.
Sia Alipoor, an organizer of the protest, previously served on the SGA Senate for the College of Graduate Studies.
“This is a national event,” Alipoor said. “Protests are going on all over the country. We organized this for the UCF student body.”
An email was sent to students and faculty to raise awareness about the protest and to inform those who wanted to attend what was going on. The email included an attachment, which consisted of eight anonymous stories about students who traveled from Iran and what they left behind and how the order affected them.
Several students who were protesting were from Iran and came to the U.S. to go to school to create a good life for themselves. Those who are from the countries directly affected by the order were holding signs that said how many days it has been since they have seen their families.
“I came here to study and to find a job I like and be successful,” said Fatima Hodaei, a computer science major.
Fatima, 27, came to the U.S. two years ago with her husband Hossien Hodaei, an optics major at UCF. The two haven’t seen their families in over 740 days.
Hossien, 27, also has high expectations for his career and said he wanted to be the best in his field.
“People should not be judged by where they were born,” Fatima said about the current immigration ban. “They should be judged by their actions.”
The two agreed that the peaceful protest was an effective way to argue with the ban and that people need to talk with one another instead of aggressive protesting.
Rouhollah Rahmatizadeh, a computer science major, came to the U.S. from Iran about five years ago. Rahmatizadeh visited Iran for a year but has not returned for another four years.
“I don’t know when I can go back,” Rahmatizadeh, 28, said. “I had plans to go back and get married, but now I don’t know.”
After being outside of the library for an hour, the protesters walked to Memory Mall and walked around students and faculty who were attending the UCF Gather Luncheon.
“I respect what they were doing,” said Laura Gonzalez, an advertising major. “I’m glad they’re standing up [for what they believe in] peacefully. They weren’t disturbing anything.”