Amid New Travel Rules, Drexel Reaffirms Support for University's International Community
March 7, 2017
The President's revised executive order suspending entry into the U.S. for refugees, immigrants and non-immigrants from certain countries remains a major challenge to the nation's colleges and universities. As with the earlier travel restrictions put on hold by the federal courts, I want to assure the Drexel University community that we are prepared to support our international students, faculty, and professional staff by every possible means.
The revised rules impose a 90-day freeze on new visas — including those issued to students — for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Even though the restrictions preserve the status of existing visa holders and allow for limited exemptions on a case-by-case basis, the new order conflicts with many of the values we cherish. Drexel believes in inclusion and equality, and we are committed to celebrating and recognizing the fruits of diversity and global engagement.
The uncertainty surrounding the travel ban continues to cause anxiety among some of our students and colleagues about the impact on their lives, studies and research. They are also shaken and hurt, knowing that this country has singled them out — and their families, home countries, religions, and the like — for discriminatory treatment. Despite the revised rules, they may be reluctant or unable to travel home in an emergency. And they may well be feeling isolated, as family members are prohibited from visiting from the affected countries.
For now, the most practical consideration, and our best advice, is that international students and scholars from any affected nation defer any planned travel outside the country until the situation can be clarified. We encourage all those potentially affected to check with Drexel's International Students and Scholars Services for updated information and advice on any travel plans, as University officials will continue to monitor the situation closely. The new order takes effect March 16, and it appears likely that there will be further legal challenges.
Drexel's global ties are integral to our mission, whether in educating international students here on campus, placing Drexel undergraduates in career-making co-ops with overseas companies, or creating new knowledge through research partnerships that span continents. We will do everything possible to preserve these critical relationships, and to safeguard the students, faculty, and professional staff who are at the heart of what we do. These members of the Drexel community have our strongest backing.
John A. Fry