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Faculty responds to Trump’s executive order

This letter is addressed to College President R. Barbara Gitenstein, asking her to denounce President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending immigration as well as restricted entry into the U.S. from seven countries.


Dear Bobby,

We call on you as president of the College to denounce the executive order banning the entry of nationals from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. This order is racist in targeting nations with majority Muslim populations. It is inhumane in refusing to aid refugees from desperately war-torn conditions, which the United States has had a hand in creating. The ban is already restricting the travel of individuals in this country as well as those stopped at the borders. It will tear apart families, and it is terrorizing Muslim-American communities, who know they are being stigmatized, racially profiled and identified as potential terrorists.

We’re asking you to take a public stand because this executive order is also an assault on institutions of higher education. It drastically curtails our ability to do our work as teachers, students, researchers and scholars in every academic field. The College has made a strong commitment to “global engagement” in its 2021 Strategic Plan. This ban will diminish the College’s efforts to be a site of international cooperation and will compromise the transnational production of knowledge. Under this ban, it is quite possible that international students, faculty, staff and researchers will be excluded from our campus, and that some will be stranded away from their families.

In some cases, we may be hampered in hosting international fellowships and conducting collaborative, transnational research. The ban will have terrible repercussions beyond the seven targeted nations. Students from other countries will be afraid, rightfully, to attend schools in such a discriminatory atmosphere. Academics from many countries will understandably boycott our institutions to protest. And, of course, there will be retaliatory bans. Ideas cannot freely circulate when the mobility of our international community is restricted. Academic freedom depends on the freedom of movement across borders.

Many have drawn heartbreaking parallels between the ban on Muslim refugees today and the refusal to open our doors to Jewish refugees in the ’30s and ’40s. We should recall another historical lesson. As you well know, distinguished American institutions were created by intellectuals fleeing from Nazi Germany, including the New School for Social Research and the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, N.J.  Where would our institutions of higher education be today without the fundamental contributions of refugees and immigrants from all over the world, in every generation since World War II? This includes every field in the arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences. Respect for this history should help us respond to the current emergency.

We hope the College will make a public statement in opposition to the ban. Your leadership on this will help us to connect with other universities and colleges that, in the coming days, will also be making public statements. Collaborative effort is essential now to fight this attack on the values and the workings of the entire academic community.

Thank you for reading this. We’re sure you have already thought about this at length and are aware of many more repercussions across the College and academia at large. Please know that we appreciate your leadership during such challenging times, and we look forward to your response.


Best wishes,

John Landreau, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Holly Haynes, Philosophy
Rebecca Li, Sociology & Anthropology
Zakiya Adair, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies & African American Studies
Luis Gabriel-Stheeman, World Languages
Michael Robertson, English
David Blake, English
Christopher Fisher, History
Shaun Wiley, Psychology
Miriam Lowi, Political Science
Adriana Rosman-Askot, World Languages
Jo-Ann Gross, History
Cynthia Paces, History
Cecilia Colbeth, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies & Philosophy
Glenn Steinberg, English
David Venturo, English
Jo Carney, English
Miriam Shakow, Sociology and Anthropology
Robert McGreevey, History
Regina Morin, World Languages
Cassandra Jackson, English
Ellen Friedman, English
Rachel Adler, Sociology and Anthropology
Celia Chazelle, History
Juda Bennett, English
Alvin Figueroa, World Languages
Sarah Chartock, Political Science
Mary Lynn Hopps, Women in Leadership and Learning
Janet Gray, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Lee Ann Ricardi, Art and Art History
Marla Jaksch, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Xinru Liu, History
Catie Rosemurgy, English
Diane Steinberg, English
Michele Tarter, English
Simona Wright, World Languages
Anita Allyn, Art and Art History
Emily Meixner, English
Harriet Hustis, English
Lincoln Konkle, English
Pierre Le Morvan, Philosophy
Lois Fichner-Rathus, Art and Art History
Richard Kamber, Philosophy
Jean Graham, English
Deborah Hutton, Art and Art History
Matthew Bender, History
Marimar Huguet-Jerez, World Languages
Elizabeth Borland, Sociology and Anthropology
Felicia Jean Steele, English
Brian Potter, Political Science
Mindi McMann, English
Holly Ogren, World Languages
Lynn Gazley, Sociology and Anthropology
Leigh-Ann Francis, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies & African American Studies
Diane Bates, Sociology and Anthropology
Deborah Compte, World Languages
Michael Nordquist, Center for Community Engaged Learning and Research
Ann Marie Nicolosi, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Cynthia Curtis, Mathematics
Teresa Marrin Nakra, Music
Winnifred Brown-Glaude, African American Studies
Karina Lopez, The Bonner Institute for Civic and Community Engagement
Christopher Smith, Criminology
Carol A. Evangelisto, Counseling and Psychological Services
Kathleen Webber, English
Wayne Heisler, Music
Karen Clark, Mathematics
Rafia Z. Siddiq, Student Affairs
Grace Flager, Counseling and Psychological Services
Hue-Sun Ahn, Counseling and Psychological Services
Mark Edwards, Liberal Learning
Brittany Aydelotte, The Bonner Institute for Civic and Community Engagement
Nina Peel, Biology
Tracy Kress, Biology
Qin Shao, History
Andrew Clifford, Mathematics
Heather Camp, Center for Community Engaged Learning and Research
Donald Lovett, Biology
James Bricker, Biology
Luke Butler, Biology
Kasey March, Student Affairs
Maddie Anthes, Psychology
Margaret Ruddy, Psychology
Ashley Borders, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies
Jarret Crawford, Psychology
Margaret Martinetti, Psychology
Margarita Leahy, Counseling and Psychological Services
Amanda Norvell, Biology
Liselot van der Heijden, Art and Art History
Matthew Wind, Biology
David Vickerman, Music
Jean Kirnan, Psychology


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