NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — A forecast calling for snow and cold temperatures doesn't look like it will sideline a protest organized by members of the Rutgers University community.
Thousands of people intend to bundle up and march tonight through the College Avenue Campus, in a stand against President Donald Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries and plans to build a wall along the United States’ border with Mexico.
“Join us in trying times as we show the strength of our Rutgers family and stand by our Muslim & immigrant communities affected by these divisive policies,” organizers wrote on a Facebook page for the event.
More than 1,500 individuals have signed on to participate in the demonstration, and another 2,500 people have expressed interest on Facebook.
The group will demand that Rutgers President Robert Barchi call on Trump to rescind the ban, which sparked protests across the country when it was implemented by way of executive order last week. They want him to condemn the act as “thinly-veiled Islamophobia, xenophobia and fear mongering.”
Protesters also intend to tell university officials to refuse to cooperate with any form of Muslim registry and to “reaffirm the sanctuary status” of Rutgers as a protector of undocumented students, according to the event description.
Trump and his supporters have said the ban is meant to safeguard the U.S. against terrorists. They have also blasted claims that the order amounts to a "Muslim ban," though critics point to which countries the order affects and language giving priority to Christians.
Organizers have also released an itinerary for the protest, whose starting time has been pushed earlier than first planned.
Students plan to gather on the steps outside Brower Commons, off College Avenue, around 4:45 p.m. From there, a local chaplain will lead a prayer session and speakers will address the crowd.
Shortly after 6 p.m., protesters plan to march toward the Old Queens administration building, near Hamilton Street.
A speech from Rutgers’ Muslim chaplain, a vigil and spoken word performances will follow.
Organizers posted a number of possible chants online, including “No hate, no fear / Immigrants are welcome here,” “Hands too small / Can’t build a wall” and “Muslim rights are human rights.”
Eighteen groups affiliated with the university have thrown their backing behind the march.
The protest has drawn the attention of people from outside the school, as well. Organizers encourage commuters to either park in a downtown garage or take NJ Transit to New Brunswick.
Rutgers police officers will be on hand, organizers wrote, asking participants to “please respect them.”
New Brunswick Police Capt. J.T. Miller told TAPinto New Brunswick yesterday that RUPD is indeed overseeing the protest, but city police could end up providing security if necessary.