EDITORIAL: Commend support of students affected by Trump plan
On Sunday, Jan. 29, the Brandeis community received an email from University President Ron Liebowitz, cosigned by eight other administrators, which directly addressed President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration signed on Friday. This board commends the University for its prompt and attentive response during a time of great emotional duress for many members of the community.
Trump’s executive order bars Syrian refugees from entering the United States, along with citizens of seven other Muslim-majority nations. Since its signing, airports across the world have fallen into confusion and unrest, as citizens from the seven nations were prevented from boarding America-bound airlines, at times regardless of whether they had proper visas or green cards. Within the U.S., protests have broken out across major airports in solidarity with those who have been detained. This executive order even affects students, and some individuals on student visas who had been studying abroad for the semester fear the chance that they might not be able to return.
Under these circumstances, Brandeis administrators have demonstrated awareness and initiative, outlining measures through which they plan to support the campus community both emotionally and informationally. In particular, this board applauds the mobilization of the University’s International Students and Scholars Office as outlined within the Jan. 29 email. In this time of uncertainty, direct outreach to the students, faculty and staff potentially affected by this executive order will be vital to preserving the wellbeing of the campus as a whole. This board also supports the University’s reaffirmation that Brandeis will not cooperate with immigration enforcement without a warrant or other such valid legal mandate, a stance first outlined in an email sent by Liebowitz on Nov. 17, 2016 during the discussions of sanctuary campus status.
However, as the nation struggles to navigate this new political landscape, it will become more and more necessary for the Brandeis community to remain informed about the implications of policy changes such as this executive order on immigration. As such, this board encourages the University to commit to ongoing opportunities for dialogue, such as the panel discussion on this executive order described in a Jan. 30 email from University Provost Lisa Lynch.
The state of the executive order on immigration seemingly changes from hour to hour, and within Massachusetts alone, the Boston Federal Court has put a seven-day hold on the order, though without guarantee that officials will comply. This board acknowledges that it is unfeasible for Brandeis to react to every news update on the topic but hopes that the University will continue to provide the Brandeis community with resources as the presidency progresses.