Faculty Senate votes to oppose travel ban
Ban prevents “cultural exchange and understanding,” memo says
The Faculty Senate announced in an email Feb. 2 that it unanimously voted to oppose President Trump’s travel ban “to and from” Iran, Sudan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, Libya and Yemen.
“American University’s faculty seek to promote the free movement of ideas and people around the world,” Todd Eisenstadt, chair of the faculty senate, wrote in the email.
AU shares this mission of “free movement of ideas” and diversity with most other universities across the United States, according to the email. The faculty said in its memo that it believes the executive order goes against this mission, and called for the University to continue its opposition to the ban.
“We want to, for now, alert everybody that universities in this country are places where activism happens and we have a long tradition of that. We want to speak on behalf of people whose rights aren't being respected, but at the same time don’t want to be overly alarmist,” Eisenstadt said.
Eisenstadt said that the email was sent to “express some solidarity” with AU community members from the countries affected by the travel ban.
“We ask the administration of American University to continue its vigilance and advocacy for students, faculty, staff, and colleagues abroad who are affected by the executive order, and that it continue to join with us in publicly opposing the adverse impacts of the U.S. president’s executive order,” the email said.
The decision from the Faculty Senate comes amid several responses from the AU community about the ban. AUSG president Devontae Torriente released a statement on Jan. 28 calling on the AU administration to provide legal consultation for affected students on AU’s campus, and to provide information on “permanent resident students from affected nations” who are studying abroad.
“...If the administration does not coordinate resources, AUSG will work to ensure that students are legally protected and can get all information relating to their statuses easily,” Torriente said.
“We appreciate the efforts by American University’s administration to defend and support our community members affected by the executive order, and to learn how we can continue – despite the setbacks the federal government seeks to pose to our academic community and all others – to promote cultural exchange and understanding, as well as the production of ‘deep knowledge’ through research and scholarship by the world’s best and brightest, bar none,” the email said.