A week ago today, Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie issued a statement in response to a presidential executive order that called for suspending admission into the United States of all refugees for 120 days, barring Syrian refugees indefinitely and banning — for at least the next 90 days — citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.
The executive order, McRobbie said, is contrary to IU’s values as an institution and threatens to disrupt the university’s missions. He also called on the administration to end the order as quickly as possible and to make it clear to the rest of the world that the nation’s colleges and universities would continue to open their doors to the best students, scholars and researchers from around the world.
McRobbie’s response was followed by statements from several other IU leaders, including IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel and IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar.
On Feb. 3, IU’s nine-member Board of Trustees, the university’s governing body, legal owner and final authority, passed a powerful resolution supporting McRobbie’s statement and reaffirming IU’s commitment to international engagement and openness to the world.
The resolution, delivered during the board’s first meeting of 2017, reads as follows:
WHEREAS, Indiana University embraces openness to the world and joins the great global universities of the world in seeking to attract the best students, scholars and researchers from every country;
WHEREAS, any action that impacts, even temporarily, the ability of our students and scholars to freely travel to academic conferences, engage in research outside the United States, or return to their home countries without fear of being denied readmission to the United States has a harmful impact on our ability to fulfill our educational and research mission;
THEREFORE, The Trustees of Indiana University hereby support and affirm the statement of President McRobbie issued on January 29, 2017, reaffirming Indiana University’s strong commitment to its traditions of international engagement and to supporting IU students, faculty and staff affected by changes in immigration policy.
The resolution came at the close of a week in which members from all across the IU community came together in numerous and heartfelt ways to signal their support for IU’s international students and scholars, many of whom are still feeling concerned and unsettled as issues surrounding the travel ban continue to be resolved. These issues continue to be closely monitored by IU’s Office of International Services, which has been maintaining a webpage with the latest important immigration updates, and just last night shared the above video message with international students, visiting scholars and potential IU students.