Maggio issues statement in support of international students, faculty

Northwestern State University Acting President Dr. Chris Maggio expressed support Tuesday for the university’s international students and faculty in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel from seven countries.

Maggio said, “Northwestern has historically maintained a culture of diversity that focuses on respect for all of its students and faculty regardless of race, gender, creed or national origin.  We will maintain that spirit of diversity by providing assistance and support in every way possible for those in the NSU family that are affected by the immigration policy.”

Enrollment of international students has increased significantly in the past decade at Northwestern, and Maggio said, “These individuals enhance and expand the culture of the university through their participation in student activities, creative and performing arts programs, intercollegiate athletics and their respective academic pursuits.”

Maggio said Northwestern embraces and supports the position of its governing body, the University of Louisiana System, on the executive order on immigration.

The UL System, which is headed by former Northwestern president Dr. Jim Henderson, has issued the following statement on the travel ban:

“The Universities of Louisiana provide campus cultures of inclusion that offer students the opportunity to develop their natural talents.  We welcome students and faculty from around the globe who contribute to the diverse learning culture only available on a college campus.  Our universities are working closely with students, faculty and staff who may be impacted by the executive order.

“We value immensely the work of our faculty and staff from the U.S. as well as those from other countries including employees from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.  Our international students and faculty are a vital part of our campus communities who contribute greatly to the missions of our universities.”

Maggio said Northwestern, which has more than 100 international students from 21 countries and several international faculty members, has personnel and resources available to assist individuals that may be affected by the executive order on immigration.

Students with questions or concerns may contact the International Student Resource Center in Room 230 of Russell Hall.  Center director Telba Espinoza-Contreras may be reached at or by calling 318-357-5939.  Vivian Pedroza, graduate assistant at the center, can be reached at or 318-357-5937.

Faculty with questions or concerns should contact Chief Academic Officer Dr. Vickie Gentry at 318-357-5361 or by email at

“We want to reassure our students who may be uneasy about the repercussions of the new immigration policy that we are here to assist them,” Espinoza-Contreras said.  “Our university is better because of its international students, and we offer support to them and the international community here.”