University Presidents Speak Out

The Muslim Ban sparked outrage, and rightfully so. Thousands took to the streets to protest the racist, xenophobic and downright ridiculous ban affecting men, women, children and families throughout the country and world. This response doesn’t stop at protests in the streets – university presidents across the US have released statements condemning the ban and expressing how much they value and will work to protect their international student body. This is exciting. University leaders taking a stand not only in solidarity with their students but in response to a hateful statement that affects the entire nation!

 

The first article I saw was actually a Time magazine piece about a letter signed by 50 different university presidents from both private and public universities around the US. This letter, directly addressed to the president, expressed upset over the ban, explaining that it could be a huge threat to the entire field of higher education. It’s a powerful statement from some of the “elite” in this country! Once I saw this, I quickly did further research and found numerous other letters, but most notably, many individual statements from the university presidents themselves. These statements, though moving and warming on their own, are even more so when seen together.

 

Here are a couple of excerpts that stood out to me:

 

Drew G. Faust, president of Harvard University:

“Nearly half of the deans of Harvard’s schools are immigrants — from India, China, Northern Ireland, Jamaica and Iran. Benefiting from the talents and energy, the knowledge and ideas of people from nations around the globe is not just a vital interest of the university; it long has been, and it fully remains, a vital interest of our nation …

“In these times of change, I hope and trust that all of us committed to the strength of American higher education can pursue these efforts together. Let us do so — to borrow the words of the poet Seamus Heaney, one of Harvard’s most beloved visitors from other shores — with our gates unbarred.”

 

President Janet Napolitano, University of California System:

President Janet Napolitano, who served as secretary of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013 under President Obama, and the chancellors of the University of California system expressed “deep concern” for President Trump’s executive order in their statement Sunday. They wrote:

 

“This executive order is contrary to the values we hold dear as leaders of the University of California. The UC community, like universities across the country, has long been deeply enriched by students, faculty, and scholars from around the world, including the affected countries, coming to study, teach, and research. It is critical that the United States continues to welcome the best students, scholars, scientists, and engineers of all backgrounds and nationalities.”

 

Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos, Vanderbilt University:

Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos released a statement Sunday expressing concern that Trump’s order would have a “direct adverse impact” on the Nashville, Tenn. school. He also noted the order could limit the university’s ability to recruit “talented individuals from around the world.”

He made the following promises:

“We will continue to monitor closely this and future actions that could affect our students, faculty and staff and will continue to advocate strongly for policies that protect our vibrant, diverse academic community. We will also devote ourselves to serving those on our campus who need our assistance as we strive to support our beloved community.”

 

Dr. Michael V. Drake, president of Ohio State University:

“We are grateful for the hard work of so many over the weekend, including our elected officials, to help secure the release of our student’s wife detained in New York. Our focus is, and always will be, the safety and well-being of our students and the Ohio State community. We continue to be focused on providing resources and working actively and quickly to help any other member of our community who might still be affected by this policy change …

“Ohio State remains engaged on this important issue with elected officials and national higher education organizations. While we acknowledge the importance of appropriate visa standards, we are very concerned about the broad implications of this new executive order.”

 

Some of the articles referenced and for further reading:

http://time.com/4660098/donald-trump-universities-immigration-ban/?iid=sr-link1

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/01/30/higher-education-leaders-denounce-trumps-travel-ban

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/universities-respond-to-trump-travel-ban/

http://www.princeton.edu/president/eisgruber/docs/Presidents-Letter-Immigration.pdf

http://college.usatoday.com/2017/01/29/how-universities-are-responding-to-trumps-travel-ban/

 

 

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