Response to President Trump's Executive Order

January 28, 2017

On Friday, January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order relating to visa issuance, screening procedures, and refugees. This order, which took effect immediately, heavily restricts entry into the United States by refugees and some visa holders from countries of Iraq, Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Reports indicate that this list could expand to include certain other Muslim majority countries in the Middle East and elsewhere. We are deeply troubled and concerned about this action and the detrimental impact it will have on our international students and scholars, our entire community, and our mission as a University.

One of Brown’s greatest strengths is our diverse, global community. We value the more than 2,000 international students and scholars who are essential to our University, and the ideas, experiences and perspectives they bring are critical to our capacity to engage in teaching, research and service with excellence and distinction. We remain unwavering in our commitment to attract the most talented and promising students and scholars from all countries of origin, cultures, races, religions, identities and experiences, and to cultivating an environment that ensures the free exchange of ideas and advancement of knowledge.

While the full impact of this executive order is still unknown, we are already seeing the effects on our campus and among our peers. It is clear that in the short term, this directive will impact the mobility of our international students and scholars. Therefore, during this time of great uncertainty, we strongly advise against international travel for students and scholars from targeted countries. This is in line with guidance that is being offered by our peer institutions and national organizations for international education. Our primary focus is continuing to ensure the safety and security of our international students and scholars, which is fundamental in providing a climate in which they can flourish.

As we seek to learn as much as we can about the implications of this executive order, we are also working closely with our federal associations and our Congressional delegation to convey our profound concerns and to advocate for possible solutions. You can read a statement issued by the Association of American Universities here, which President Paxson and I fully endorse.

The following are resources available to our community:

  • If you know of any students, staff, faculty or scholars who are having trouble returning to the United States, or have general questions about visa and immigration compliance, please connect them to the OISSS team. They can be reached at 401-863-2427.
  • For all non-visa related issues, please direct your community members to the Office of Global Engagement (OGE), as they are responsible for providing support to international students, faculty, staff and visitors. OGE can be reached at 401-863-1300 or gbcs@brown.edu.
  • The Office of Global Engagement in partnership with the Office of International Student & Scholar Services (OISSS) will be hosting an immigration informational panel.  Details of the event are being arranged and will be publicized through morning mail. Students and scholars should continue to remain in touch with the staff of OISSS as they are the primary source of support regarding visa related matters. 
  • Members of the international community can also utilize our Global Brown Community & Support service to find a place of support, ask any general questions about navigating Brown, and get referrals to the resources available to you.

It is important to note that several offices at Brown, including the Office of the General Counsel, Office of International Student & Scholar Services (OISSS), Office of Global Engagement, and Government and Community Relations are actively monitoring activities and actions at all levels of government that may affect our international community.  The environment is fluid, and as we learn more, we will continue to share information with you.

Sincerely,

Richard M. Locke
Provost