Statement about executive order on U.S. immigration policy
President Matthew J. Wilson
Posted Jan. 29, 2017
The University of Akron is fully committed to supporting all members of its University family. Without hesitation, this commitment extends to all of our international students, scholars, researchers, and faculty, whose unique contributions enrich the UA experience for everyone, and who positively contribute to our society as a whole.
On January 27, President Donald Trump issued an executive order suspending all refugee admissions from seven countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen) for 120 days, and blocking citizens from these countries from entering the United States for 90 days. This order combined with various public statements and anticipated changes in immigration policy have given rise to uncertainty, confusion, alarm, and concern. The scope and impact of emerging policy changes are still unclear, but any negative impact on the UA international community is quite troubling.
As we have unequivocally stated in the past, The University of Akron strongly values inclusion, diversity, mutual respect, equal opportunity, intellectual liberty, free speech, fearless inquiry, privacy, and safety. We will resolutely continue to uphold and promote these values across campus, and will work tirelessly to build bridges and promote values of inclusion within our society.
I want to assure the UA community that we will closely monitor and promptly respond to any changes in immigration policy. We will do our best to minimize any disruption or other negative fallout, and will assist any member of our University family adversely affected by significant changes in U.S. immigration policy. The University offers confidential counseling services to all students and is connecting with its international students and other affected University family members to provide needed assistance. Also, our Office of International Programs is available for consultation at any time.
I believe it would be beneficial to address our questions, concerns, and even fears about immigration law and policy as a community. Accordingly, we held an open forum on Feb. 3. The primary purpose was to answer questions for members of our international community about recent immigration developments and how they may affect UA students and faculty. Professor Elizabeth Knowles joined me at the forum. Professor Knowles is an expert in immigration law and recently joined UA last year to establish and serve as director of our new Immigration & Human Rights Clinic.
Please know that we are also in direct communication with our representatives in government as well as with various higher education associations, organizations and councils about avoiding negative repercussions caused by shifts in immigration policy. At the same time, we will urge all people and governments to cooperate in seeking solutions to meet human needs and relieve suffering of those fleeing war, violence, and persecution.
Located in the heartland of the United States, we realize the benefits of immersing our students in international education and providing the tools for our students to engage in global interactions and transitions that impact society. Recent developments will not deter The University of Akron from its current path of expanding its international programs and opening its doors further to the world. We are committed to admitting students in a manner consistent with our non-discrimination policy, and to maintaining an environment in which international students can flourish.
As I have confirmed over the course of the past several months, our campus is rich with international expertise, experience, and activities. We plan on enhancing our commitment to international education and further internationalizing our campus through academic initiatives, international programming, special events, collaborative research, practical training, overseas opportunities and the like.
We appreciate the enrichment and strength brought to UA by the talent, insights, and culture of our international students, faculty, researchers, and staff. International students from all countries and religions have long been a fundamental part of our campus community. We expect this to be even more true in the future.
Matthew J. Wilson