Dear Vanderbilt community,
On March 6, President Trump issued a new Executive Order suspending travel from six countries. As you know, I joined with many of my colleagues in calling on the administration to rectify or rescind the original Jan. 27 order, which we found to be fundamentally at odds with the defining principles of our universities and our country.
Vanderbilt joins the Association of American Universities in noting that our country’s economic competitiveness and global leadership have been greatly enriched by individuals from other countries who have chosen to make the United States their home. (See March 6 AAU statement). We also share the AAU’s deep concerns that this new order continues to send a harmful message to international students and scholars who have chosen to come to Vanderbilt from around the world, or who may wish to in the future. We are grateful every day for the valuable contributions that our international students, faculty and staff make to our campus, creating a rich, diverse environment with many opportunities to learn from each other’s perspectives.
The Executive Order issued March 6 includes an exemption for individuals from the six covered countries who currently hold green cards and those with visas valid as of Jan. 27, 2017. It also includes a case-by-case waiver process for affected individuals that may provide some relief for students and scholars. We hope that these provisions will enable Vanderbilt students, faculty and staff to travel as needed without being barred from re-entering the United States. Vanderbilt will continue to provide support for members of our community who may be affected by the Executive Order.
We are committed to working with our peers and the administration to identify security solutions that protect our country while preserving our dedication to welcoming and embracing the best and brightest minds from all over the world. I encourage you to visit the resources compiled on Provost Wente’s website to learn more about this and related issues.
Nicholas S. Zeppos