TSU expert says U.S. Travel Ban May Not Affect International Students with Legal Status, but still causes anxiety

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – International students with legal status in the United States should not be worried about the new travel ban, says a public policy expert at Tennessee State University.

Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Service and a longtime expert on Middle Eastern politics, said there is “no language in the law that will affect these students.” However, the ban could impact those wanting to enter the U.S. other than to study.

Dr. Michael Harris

“No, students should not be concerned at all,” Harris said. “I don’t believe it (the ban) has any impact on students that are admitted to universities in the United States with an I-20.”

The Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status, also known as the I-20, allows student to stay in the country for the duration of their program. The I-20 is processed in the country of origin and makes it legal for individuals to come to the United States and learn, Harris added.

On December 4, the Supreme Court allowed the ban to go into effect, although legal challenges against it remain. This means that the government can fully enforce its new restrictions on travel from eight nations, six of them predominantly Muslim. For now, most citizens of Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea will be barred from entering the United States, along with some groups from Venezuela.

Tennessee State University has about 560 international students from 35 countries. (Courtesy photo)

While the ban does not impact current international students studying here, it still causes them great concern. This includes Nahal Jafari, a freshman psychology major at Tennessee State University.

The Iranian native said she cancelled all options to attend college in her country and chose to come to the U.S. for her studies, but thinks the ban may cause her problems in the immediate future.

“I am really worried because this impacts my student visa,” said Jafari, who was planning on going home during the summer break for vacation but thinks it may not be a good idea. “If I decide to change schools or go home to see my family, will I be able to?”

TSU has about 560 international students from 35 countries, with a good number from Iran, Iraq and Somalia, which are on the travel ban.

In most cases, citizens of these designated countries will be unable to immigrate to the United States permanently, and many will be barred from working, studying or vacationing here. For instance, Iran will still be able to send its citizens on student exchanges, though such visitors will be subject to enhanced screening.

Mark Brinkley is the director of international education in the Office of International Affairs (OIA) at TSU. Brinkley recommends all international students submit their current I-20 for review prior to departing the U.S.

He said if the I-20 is current, “students may re-enter the country without challenges from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.”

International students in middle Tennessee should go to their designated school official (DSO) to ensure they have all proper documentation and fully understand the new travel ban.

For more information on international studies at TSU go to http://www.tnstate.edu/diversity/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Commencement Speaker April Ryan Tells Graduates to Believe in Themselves

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Renowned journalist and White House correspondent April Ryan left Tennessee State University graduates with one key message Saturday: “Believe in yourselves and ‘stand’ in the face of adversities.”

President Glenda Glover, right, presents a special award to Commencement Speaker April Ryan. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Ryan, also a nationally syndicated radio host, delivered the commencement address at TSU’s fall graduation ceremony in the Howard C. Gentry Complex on the main campus. Nearly 500 undergraduate and graduate students received degrees in various disciplines.

TSU President Glenda Glover gave the welcome and thanked Ryan for accepting the invitation to speak at the graduation. She congratulated the graduates and thanked parents, relatives and friends for their support.

“I applaud you for having reached this extraordinary milestone in your academic career,” Glover said. “It does not matter how long it took you; you are sitting here this morning because you are graduating. You have endured.”

About 500 graduates received degrees in various disciplines at TSU’s 2017 Fall Commencement (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

In her  address, Ryan told the graduates that receiving their degrees does not guarantee that it will “catapult” them into middle-income status.

“But it lays the foundation,” she said. “There are going to be hurdles; life isn’t a crystal stair. You will be met with issues you have never seen before, but it starts with believing in yourselves.”

As a White House correspondent, Ryan has covered four presidential administrations. But it was her exchanges with President Donald Trump and his then-press secretary Sean Spicer following the last presidential election that thrust Ryan into the limelight. She makes frequent appearances on CNN as an analyst.

President Glover presented Jaquatey Bowens and William Sanders with the Student Academic Excellence Award for achieving the highest grade point average in their various disciplines. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

On race and the current political climate, Ryan pointed to TSU’s “unique role” as an HBCU and its involvement in the civil rights struggle of the ‘50s and ‘60s, when students from the university staged sit-ins in Nashville and across Tennessee. She also made reference to President Trump’s controversial visit to the opening of the civil rights museum in Mississippi, which is being boycotted by many prominent black leaders.

“I applaud these civil rights leaders for their decision to boycott because it is their right,” Ryan said. “But I also think that the president should go. We need for this president to go and see why the students were sitting in the ’60s. We need this president to understand why Colin Kaepernick took a knee. We need for the president to see the pain from the ‘50s and ‘60s and that slavery was not just a different way of immigrating into the United States with a basket of fruit and seeing Lady Liberty.”

Tennessee State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., who previously earned a bachelor’s degree from TSU, was in attendance Saturday to receive his doctorate in public policy and administration. He described Ryan as the person with the “right tool” to transform the graduates’ thinking.

“As I sit here and think about getting another degree from TSU, I am excited, but also I am concerned about the direction our country is going in with the leadership that we have,” Love said. “I am hoping that our speaker will inspire students to leave from here with their degrees and help transform the world and bring us back to a place of peace, compassion, and responsibility.”

Later, President Glover presented Jaquantey Bowen, a biology major; and Williams Sanders, computer science major, with the Student Academic Excellence Award for achieving the highest grade point average in their various disciplines.

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Health Experts Urge Tennesseans To Get Flu Shot

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – If you’re still unsure about whether or not to get a flu shot, Tennessee State University researchers have a message for you: Stop thinking about it, and get one. This comes as the National Centers for Disease Control (CDC) observes the first week in December as National Influenza Week.

Dr. Wendelyn Inman, TSU Associate Professor of Public Health, Healthcare Administration and Health Sciences

“Most people think you get the flu, you just get sick, and you recover,” said Dr. Wendelyn Inman, TSU associate professor of Public Health, Healthcare Administration and Health Sciences. “That is true if you are relatively healthy. But it is important for us to be sure that, like in any group of people, most people are immunized so that the frail and fragile are not exposed to the flu and die from it.”

According to the CDC, people at high risk of developing flu-related complications include children younger than 5 (but especially children younger than 2 years old), adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and American Indians and Alaskan Natives.

One popular misconception, said Inman, who teaches Epidemiology on the undergraduate and graduate levels, is that individuals actually contract the flu as a result of taking the vaccination. She said suspicions about taking the flu shot persist because many people remain unaware that infectious diseases have an incubation period.

“Let’s say you went to a cocktail party, and you got exposed. Then you go to the pharmacist to get the prescription on Monday, and you have flu symptoms on Friday. You’re going to think you got the flu from the flu shot,” she said. “Well, actually you didn’t get the flu from getting the flu shot. You got it from someone else. It’s the timing.”

Dr. Ivan Davis, TSU director of Student Health Services

Dr. Ivan Davis, TSU director of Student Health Services, said one of the most dangerous consequences of not getting a flu shot is that it can lead to pneumonia. He said even if the vaccination does not have the same strain of the virus, taking it usually makes the illness much milder. Instead of being five to seven days and protracted, he said the illness is “shortened by several days.”

Davis said it takes about four weeks for the immunity from the shot to “kick-in.” He said people are unable to get the illness from the vaccine because it contains a dead virus.

“The vaccination uses the genome, the nucleus of the virus, so there is no way you can get the flu from the shot. It’s not a live virus,” he said. “Even if you come down with a different strain, it has been proven that because you have had the shot, your chance of having a real bad infection is lessened.”

The exact timing and duration of flu season can vary extending from October through May, but most peak between December and February, according to the CDC. In 2005, the agency designated the first full week in December to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. This year the center recommends that only injectable flu vaccines be given.

Inman said the changing nature of the virus is another reason she stresses taking the flu shot.

“To me it’s too big of a gamble to take for your health because each year the virus changes and the severity is different. No one can verify that this is a mild version and not the killer version that swept through in 1918,” she added.

According to health experts, in 1918 the flu pandemic killed an estimated 500 million people worldwide including about 675,000 Americans.

“Any immunization keeps anything you catch from being as bad because it jumpstarts your immune system,” Inman said. “You’ll be safer and less sorry if you get the flu shot.”

The Tennessee Department of Health reports that the highest number of flu cases in Tennessee are typically recorded in January and February each year.

For more information about where you can get the flu shot in Tennessee, visit http://tn.gov/health/topic/localdepartments.

 

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING RECOGNIZED AT SWEET TALK FOR 100 PERCENT PARTICIPATION IN FACULTY, STAFF GIVING CAMPAIGN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University College of Engineering received special recognition at the university’s annual Sweet Talk event for having 100 percent participation in the university’s annual faculty and staff giving campaign, which raises money to benefit TSU students.

Held on Nov. 30 in the Floyd-Payne Campus Center, Sweet Talk provided an opportunity for campus employees to enjoy delicious pastries and discuss the importance of supporting students beyond the classroom.

“I challenged my almost fifty faculty and staff members in the College of Engineering and encouraged them to give individually,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the college. “They have demonstrated that by investing in TSU and showing their support for what they believe and I believe is one of the best places to work in the city of Nashville.”

Sonya Smith, assistant director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving and chair of the campaign, expressed her gratitude to the campaign co-chairs and various contributors for raising $141,451 during the 2016-2017 fiscal year.  She said the goal for the current fiscal year is to raise $155,000.

“We are excited about the upcoming year,” she said. “Our participation rate has increased from 99 faculty and staff to 329. I encourage faculty and staff to continue to support this important fundraising effort.”

According to Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, vice president of Research and Institutional Advancement, this “unified effort will remove financial hurdles” that students are otherwise unable to overcome.

“Before I start to shed tears over the joy that I am experiencing from all the wonderful gifts that we are receiving and our ability to give and help others, I just want to say thank you,” she said. “We always talk about team work makes the dream work. To see the numbers, to see the participation rate, to me it is a clear example of how teamwork is truly making the dream work at TSU.”

Dr. Joseph Perry, Director of Sustainability in Facilities Management, has been with Tennessee State University for 40 years. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Joe Perry, the director of Sustainability in Facilities Management, who has established an endowment at TSU, said he gives back because he is grateful for the opportunities the university has given him.  Perry, who started his journey 40 years ago in the security department, now has four degrees from TSU.

“I will always support this great university,” he said.  “Even when I am gone, my endowment will continue to support the needs of students.  I realize giving back will help the future leaders of tomorrow.”

Rosalyn Word, co-chair of the Faculty Staff Annual Giving Campaign, expressed her enthusiasm for the effort.  A member of the President’s Club, people who contribute $1,000 or more, Word said she came to TSU full-time because someone else made a financial contribution so that “I could be and do what it is I needed to do.”

“I know that for me to accomplish the things I have been able to accomplish there were people like us who made a financial contribution to make sure I could pursue an education, and become the person I was destined to be,” she said.

Word, assistant professor of dental hygiene at TSU, said her department has established a scholarship for students majoring in dental hygiene and hopes to award scholarships to two students next year.

Dr. Achintya Ray, chair of the Faculty Senate, along with Linda Goodman, chair of the Staff Senate, presented the $141,451 check to President Glenda Glover on Nov. 11 at Hale Stadium during the TSU-Southeast Missouri game.  He said the financial gifts of faculty and staff represent a “deep conviction that they can make fundamental change” in the lives of the young men and women TSU employees serve.

“I was deeply honored to go out with Ms. Goodman during the halftime of the game and present Dr. Glover with that wonderful check,” Ray said. “But I think what we presented was not the amount that was written on the check, but a confidence in the faculty and staff in the future of this great institution.”

Eloise Abernathy Alexis, associate vice president of Institutional Advancement, encouraged faculty and staff to give primarily through payroll deduction.  For more information about how to give, call (615) 963-2936.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.