Presidents of IU, Purdue speak out against travel restrictions
Editor's note: This story from The Bloomington Herald-Times is being published here as a courtesy for readers of IU in the News.
By Rod Spaw
The presidents of Indiana’s two flagship public universities are calling for the administration of President Donald Trump to rethink its executive order on immigration and travel.
In separate news releases, Indiana University President Michael McRobbie and Purdue University President Mitch Daniels called for the Trump administration to reverse its decision to temporarily ban travel to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries and to require interviews of all individuals seeking to renew a travel visa.
“The president’s order related to immigration is a bad idea, poorly implemented, and I hope that he will promptly revoke and rethink it,” Daniels said in his statement. “If the idea is to strengthen the protection of Americans against terrorism, there are many far better ways to achieve it.”
In his statement, McRobbie said the order issued Friday was “contrary to the very core of our values as an institution committed to excellence and innovation, a diversity of community and ideas, respect for the dignity of others and engagement in the economic, civic, cultural and social development of our state, our nation and our world.”
McRobbie continued by noting that Trump’s executive order threatened IU’s educational, research and service missions, which he said were “inextricably bound with the rest of the world and rooted in a belief in the ever-increasing value of international literacy and experience.”
According to the Purdue statement, about 100 of the university’s 40,000 students are from countries singled out in the executive order for a 90-day ban on entry to the U.S. It said 10 faculty members are citizens of those counties — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. IU enrolls about 9,000 international students systemwide, and about 6,500 of those are on the Bloomington campus. Approximately 150 students come from the seven countries covered by the ban, with about 50 of those on the Bloomington campus, IU spokeswoman Margie Smith-Simmons said in an email.
IU reached out to international students on Saturday with an advisory. It cautioned individuals seeking to renew a visa to allow extra time for processing since the U.S. will no longer waive an interview requirement. It also recommended that citizens of the seven countries under the 90-day travel ban avoid travel outside the U.S. at this time. The advisory noted that the order was causing “significant distress among many international students and visiting scholars at IU.”
The Purdue statement said that while it was not aware of any students, faculty or staff stranded outside of the United States due to the order, “the university remains concerned for them and their families.”
McRobbie said in his statement that IU supports collaborative efforts to make sure that the U.S. visa system effectively prevents the entry of anyone into the country who is seeking to harm Americans.
“At the same time, we remain committed to doing all that we can within the bounds of the law to vigorously protect and support IU students, faculty and staff,” McRobbie said.
Smith-Simmons said the university will host two informational sessions this week to update students, faculty and staff. Information about the sessions, as well as any updates on the immigration order, will be posted to a new web page hosted by the university’s Office of International Services at https://ois.iu.edu/visas/immigration-updates.html.