Vanderbilt, peer institutions continue opposition of travel ban, file new amicus brief

kirkland exterior in springtime
Kirkland Hall (Daniel Dubois / Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt University and 30 of the nation’s other top universities have filed a joint amicus brief urging that the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland’s March 15 preliminary injunction against portions of the March 6 executive order regarding immigration and refugees be upheld.

“Vanderbilt continues to believe that universities, indeed our nation, are enriched by the presence and engagement of international students, scholars, faculty and researchers. This is why we supported the stay of the Jan. 27 executive order and are taking similar action with regard to the March 6 executive order,” Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said. “We believe the executive order would have a detrimental impact on Vanderbilt’s, and other institutions’, ability to attract and retain top international scholars. These individuals enrich college campuses academically and help college campuses reflect our global and diverse world.”

Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos (Vanderbilt University)

The brief is being filed in pending litigation on the executive order in the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In addition to Vanderbilt, the brief is being submitted jointly by Boston University, Brandeis University, Brown University, Bucknell University, Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Emory University, George Washington University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Middlebury College, Northeastern University, Northwestern University, Princeton University, Rice University, Stanford University, Tufts University, University of Chicago, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, Washington University, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Yale University.

In the brief, the signatory institutions wrote, “Each amicus has a global mission and benefits from the contributions of diverse students, faculty and scholars from around the world. Because amici seek to educate future world leaders, attract the world’s best scholars, faculty and students, and work across international borders, they rely on the ability to welcome international students, faculty and scholars into their communities. In light of their strong educational missions, amici have a strong interest in ensuring that individuals from around the globe can continue to enter the United States and share their unique skills and perspectives.”

The signatory institutions further outline the contributions international students, faculty and scholars make to their campuses and how the March 6 executive order, “like its predecessor, threatens amici’s ability to continue to attract these individuals and thus to meet their goals of educating tomorrow’s leaders.”

Provost Susan R. Wente (Vanderbilt University)

“It is imperative that our nation supports policies that ensure collaboration with scholars around the world—some of the most exciting research and discoveries taking place on our campus are fueled by partnerships with international researchers,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente said. “Our university, and ultimately our society, benefits from these scholars being able to freely pursue their research, scholarship, art and discovery without fear of being detained or delayed.”

The university has signed multiple letters with peer institutions and higher education organizations and is providing support for current students, faculty and staff who may be affected by the executive order. A full listing of the university’s actions and information related to immigration and refugees are available on the Office of the Provost’s website.