Published: Feb. 9, 2017

People do research in computer labOn Jan. 27, one of Donald Trump's first acts as president was to issue an executive order banning Syrian refugees from entering the United States indefinitely, banning all refugees from entering the United States for four months and banning all non-U.S.-citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States for ninety days.

On Jan. 28, U.S. District Court Judge Ann Donnelly enjoined the order on constitutional grounds, and since that time government officials, constitutional lawyers and scholars have recognized the order’s unlawful nature.

The Boulder Faculty Assembly (BFA) recognizes the need to preserve the nation’s security, but maintains that the president's executive order reflects serious misunderstandings about immigrants and current immigration vetting processes. The order's betrayal of the principles of openness and toleration, for which the United States has long stood, risks tarnishing the nation’s image and making us less secure.

BFA is particularly concerned about the order's potential to significantly damage American leadership in higher education and research. U.S. research institutes host a significant number of researchers from the nations subjected to the restrictions. From Iran alone, more than three thousand students have received PhDs from American universities in the past three years. Indeed, all six current Nobel Prize winners are immigrants.

The executive order limits collaborations with researchers from these nations by restricting entry of these researchers to the U.S. and can potentially lead to the departure of many talented and valued members of the academic community. 

As concerns for both truth and justice are central to the mission of the university, it is incumbent on the faculty to speak out against injustice, especially when that injustice is rooted in a disregard for truth. Restricting individual liberties and rights on the basis of religion, national origin or race has presaged some of the darkest moments in the history of our nation and the world. We have learned there are few, if any, exclusion or mass detention success stories, and no exigency justifies such a gross deviation from our core values and founding ideals.

Thus, the BFA has joined the growing list of hundreds of higher education institutions and organizations, including CU's parent organization the Association of American Universities, in condemning this discriminatory executive order and urges University of Colorado leadership to join in opposition.