DMU Vice-Chancellor thanks attendees of #LoveInternational vigil

By Matt Earth

De Montfort University’s “diverse and harmonious community” held the perfect response to US President Donald Trump’s controversial executive order with last Wednesday’s #LoveInternational vigil, according to the university’s Vice-Chancellor.

Dominic Shellard said he was “totally” appreciative of those who came out in the night in support of the 24-hour event.

“The vigil has raised our community’s consciousness about the need to call out intolerance and discrimination whenever we come across them,” Professor Shellard said.img_0830

On January 27, Donald Trump signed an executive order temporarily barring nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Iraq and Somalia, from entering the United States.

The move was negatively received, prompting demonstrations and rallies throughout the world.

A protest in Leicester city centre in late January attracted a few hundred demonstrators.

Prof Shellard said he received numerous letters from staff and students expressing concern, anxiety and anger in the days following President Trump’s order.

Because of this, the 24-hour vigil was organised, allowing students and staff alike to demonstrate DMU’s status as an “open, global and proactive institution”.

The vigil began at midday last Wednesday with the Vice-Chancellor delivering a speech outside the university’s Hawthorn Building.

Over 100 students and staff volunteered to perform to show solidarity with refugees and victims of intolerance.

Numerous people braved the cold throughout last Wednesday night, where the atmosphere was “positive, optimistic and determined”.

“We read poems, listened to lectures, engaged in debate, danced and protested – all in near sub-zero temperatures,” Prof Shellard said of the evening.

The Vice-Chancellor said he hopes that all staff and students feeling “unsettled” by recent events can “take some comfort from knowing they belong to a community that rejects walls, bans and division”.

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