Administrators denounced the ban over the weekend, with University President Lee Bollinger and Barnard President Debora Spar calling the ban dangerous and opposed to the University's core values. Associate Provost and Director of the International Students and Scholars Office David Austell also sent an email to University affiliates Friday night urging students from the countries listed not to travel internationally at this time.
Students at the protest held up signs with phrases that read, among others, "No Ban No Wall," "Refugees Are Welcome," and "Resist." In unison, they chanted, "New York City is for all. No ban, no wall," "Refugees are welcome here. Say it loud, say it clear," and "No hate, no fear. Immigrants are welcome here."
Individual students also spoke during the event. Riham Alkousaa, a student in the Journalism School, claimed to be directly affected by Trump's new order. She came from Syria two years ago, and lived as a refugee for two years.
"I don't feel safe now. I'm not sure if I can stay. I didn't believe this could happen," Alkousaa said.
Representatives of the Graduate Workers of Columbia-United Auto Workers who organized the protest addressed Bollinger and the administration directly. They demanded that the University supply free housing over the summer for those who wouldn't be able to travel, provide free legal support for those who needed it, and ensure that the affected students would not suffer any financial or academic penalties as a result of the executive order.
In addition, several representatives from various organizations, such as the Arab Students Association, the Columbia Iranian Students Association, the Undocumented Student Initiative, and the Muslim Students Association, voiced their concerns and solidarity.
"We are here to stand with our Muslim siblings, extend a warm hand to you all in this all-too-often cold country, and tell you that you matter," Jessica Bennett, GS '17, said on behalf of the Undocumented Student Initiative.
Faculty including Brinkley Messick, professor at the Middle East Institute, and Tim Mitchell, chair of the department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, also spoke.
"I will ask that the list of demands you heard earlier be supported by the chairs of every department," Mitchell said. "It is extremely important [to know], as others have said, that simply protesting, simply speaking out against, is not going to be enough."
Directly after the protest, a group of students left for Columbus Circle to take part in a march downtown alongside groups from five other New York colleges.