U.S. executive order receives widespread rebuke from universities
Rebuke from the University of Alberta, Augustana and Universities Canada came quickly following U.S. President Trump’s recent executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. As of this writing, the order is before the courts after U.S. federal courts suspended its implementation, but its tone has sparked sharp rebuke from universities regardless.
In response, the U of A has waived the $150 dollar application fee for applicants from any of the seven countries included in Trump’s executive order.
In an email to international students, Augustana Dean Allen Berger called the ban “alarming”, “xenophobic and Islamophobic” and against the ideals of liberal education.
In the email, Berger, who is an American, stated: “I have not always been proud of the United States, whose history includes many blemishes and atrocities. But I have always believed that American ideals, which are inscribed in the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, on the Statue of Liberty, etc., have inspired progressive political action, informed the cause of justice, and shaped the arc of history.”
He also expressed support for Prime Minister Trudeau’s statement, “To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength” and Berger added that, “So too at Augustana. Our diversity is an important strength, and it is essential to our goal of providing all students (international students, Indigenous students, and Canadian students who are themselves the descendants of immigrants) a quality liberal education.”
U of A President Turpin expressed a similar sentiment writing that “Today, as president of the University of Alberta—but also as a citizen of Alberta and Canada—I want to voice our university’s firm commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity in the face of rising isolationism and division.”
Turpin said that the U of A will remain open to people from “every nation and religion in the world” and that the U of A stands with and supports all students, fellows, faculty, staff or applicants affected by the travel ban and will continue to monitor the situation.
Turpin reiterated that one of the U of A’s “key strengths and defining features is its diversity of people, disciplines, and perspectives.” He added that “we value intellectual integrity, freedom of inquiry and expression and the equality and dignity of all persons as the foundation of ethical conduct in research, teaching, learning, and service.”
The travel ban has received widespread condemnation from universities. Even Universities Canada, which represents 97 Canadian Universities and rarely comments on foreign political events, put out a statement in opposition to the ban.