Middlebury Joins 30 Colleges, Universities in Court Brief Against Revised Travel Ban
brief with the federal appeals court for the Fourth Circuit against President Trump’s revised travel ban.
The ban was issued March 6 as an executive order and suspends travel to the United States by citizens from parts of the Middle East and Africa. In their “friend-of-the-court” brief, which was filed March 31, the colleges and universities describe international students, faculty, and scholars as vital to their campuses.
“The Middlebury community, including Middlebury College, Middlebury Language Schools, Middlebury Schools Abroad, and the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, is enriched by faculty, staff, and students from around the globe,” said Hannah Ross, Middlebury’s general counsel. “By filing the brief, we stand behind Middlebury’s commitment to inclusion. We also offer perspective on the many concrete ways that individuals from all countries are critical to our success as a place of learning, innovation, and cultural understanding.”
At Middlebury College, international students make up about 10 percent of the student body and more than 15 percent of the faculty are international.
The executive order bars the citizens of six Muslim-majority nations–Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen–from entering the U.S. for 90 days. The order excludes some visas but not those most commonly sought by students and faculty seeking to study and work in the U.S. A federal judge in Hawaii blocked the ban before it could take effect.
The educational institutions that filed the joint brief are located in the U.S. but their “missions and reach are truly global,” states the brief. They “educate, employ, conduct research, and collaborate with students, faculty, and scholars from all over the world—individuals who speak different languages, practice different religions, and have wide-ranging life experiences.”
The brief documents ways that international students and faculty contribute to economic and cultural life on campus and in the U.S., from making scientific discoveries and starting businesses, to writing literature.
The colleges and universities also argue that the executive order harms their efforts to attract the best students and faculty from around the world. They say there is uncertainty for students who are deciding now whether to attend a school in the U.S. in the fall and need to get a visa. They also point to the rigorous vetting that all or most of the citizens from the six affected countries experience before receiving visas as well as a lack of evidence that any of these individuals threaten the safety of their campuses or the country.
According to the brief, international students who study in the U.S. “gain a greater understanding of and appreciation for the values we hold dear, including democratic principles and respect for the rule of law, tolerance, and human rights, values which they may then share with citizens of their home countries.”
For More Information
Seven Mass. universities join court brief against Trump travel ban/Boston Globe
February 2, 2017: President Patton Address: Muslim Student Association Rally
February 1, 2017: Middlebury’s Commitment to Openness and Access
January 28, 2017: Message from the President: International travel advisory