Last week, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that temporarily banned travel to the U.S. for citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries, affecting many international students from these countries wishing to study, or already studying, at American universities.
Thursday afternoon, University President Michael Drake sent out a statement informing students, faculty and staff that Ohio State one of many universities and higher-education associations across the country to sign a joint letter to John Kelly, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, addressing concerns regarding the effect the order could have on American colleges.
“In conversations with many of you over the past days, a recurring theme of uncertainty has surfaced,” Drake said. “Last weekend, we faced uncertainty in real time following a policy change that restricts individuals from entering the United States. We worked in partnership with elected officials from both sides of the aisle to obtain the release of a student’s wife detained at a New York airport, and we remain committed to helping any member of our community who may be impacted or requires assistance.”
The joint letter is sponsored by the American Council on Education and signed by 48 other higher-education associations. The letter says international students have a positive impact and vital role on scholarship and research in the U.S.
“International students and scholars have served America well throughout our history. These individuals enrich our campuses and the country with their talents and skills,” the letter states. “The overwhelming majority return home as ambassadors for American values, democracy and the free market.”
The letter noted the signees support of “efforts to enhance the nation’s security” in a broad sense, but shared concern that the executive order might come at the cost of curtailing the benefits of international students and scholars attending American universities.
The letter ends with the signees offering their assistance to DHS.
“We are confident that it is possible to create policies that secure our nation from those who wish to harm us, while also welcoming those who seek to study, conduct research and scholarship, and contribute their knowledge and talents to our nation’s higher education institutions, economy and overall security,” the letter states. “And that will be our goal in working with you and your team on this issue.”