Protests at airports have justifiably grabbed most of the headlines since Friday’s executive order banning travel to the U.S. from seven predominantly Muslim countries. However, university leaders across the country are speaking out. University of Notre Dame president, Reverend John I. Jenkins denounced the ban on Sunday, “If it stands, it will over time diminish the scope and strength of the educational and research efforts of American universities, which have been the source not only of intellectual discovery but of economic innovation for the United States and international understanding for our world,” said Jenkins.
Presidents of U of M and MSU have both promised to continue their policy of not releasing the immigration status information of their respective students.
Here at NMU, President Erickson sent an e-mail of reassurance to faculty and students, “Please know that our university cares and that we are ready to protect and assist all community members, said Erickson.”
A number of faculty members at NMU like Political Science Professor Jonathan Allen, would have liked a stronger response, “I do not want this matter to be treated simply as a question of offering “listening” sessions, counseling, etc., to directly affected students or faculty/staff. I see this – and hope that my colleagues see this – as a threat to the university community as a whole, which calls for a statement and policy directed towards the university as a body. Allen says students have already started a Facebook page and are forming a club to address these issues called “Wildcats for Justice.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/wildcats4justice/
Chair and Associate Professor in the Center for Native American Studies Martin Reinhardt also called for unequivocal action, “I want to encourage our University leadership to stand up boldly against the oppressive dictates of President Trump. I want to be able to say proudly and loudly that my University will do whatever is necessary to protect those who need our protection, that we will not comply with unjust decrees that ignore the very core of what it means to be fully human.”
Philosophy professor Zac Cogley stated, “President Erickson is correct that there are many unanswered questions regarding the ban. However, there are some things that are clear. There is no rational relationship between the policy and protecting Americans. The policy bars tens of thousands of innocent refugees who are fleeing for their lives as well as countless numbers of people about whom there is absolutely no suspicion of danger from traveling here as students, tourists, or professionals. Additionally, the order would not have blocked ANY of the 9/11 hijackers, the San Bernardino attackers, the Orlando shooter, or even the Boston marathon bombers.”
Section 1 of the executive order cites the 9-11 attacks as the statement of purpose for the ban. However, none of the countries covered in the ban had any ties to the 9-11 attacks. The countries actually linked to the 9-11 attacks (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Lebanon), were not included in the ban.
A statement from the Executive Committee of NMU-AAUP says, “We strongly oppose the travel ban and its implications for religious and ethnic discrimination. We plan to work with the Academic Senate to thoroughly discuss and respond to these events as a university community.”
President of the National AAUP, Rudy Fichtenbaum stated the view of union leadership in an e-mail to AAUP members, “We believe in an America that openly embraces the world with confidence, not one that seeks to hide behind walls and religious bans. We are witnessing a dangerous attempt to expand the executive powers of the president through the misuse of executive orders and to impose an inappropriate worldview on a democratic nation,” said Fichtenbaum.
To view Fichtenbaum’s entire memo, please click here.