January 30, 2017

Morehead Releases Stronger Statement on Travel Ban


University of Georgia President Jere Morehead emailed a "personal follow-up" to the UGA community this afternoon on President Donald Trump's ban on refugees and travel from seven Muslim nations.

An initial statement released this morning—taken almost verbatim from an email University System Chancellor Steve Wrigley sent to college presidents—was met with derision among some faculty and students for its stilted language. For example, one professor referred to it on social media as "weak sauce," while another called it "tepid, at best."

The latest statement reads:

As a personal follow-up to the earlier Archnews communication (below) regarding the executive order on immigration, I want to express my strong and unwavering support for our international faculty, staff, and students at the University of Georgia. You are valued; you are supported; and you are an integral part of this vibrant university community.

International education, research, and collaboration enrich the academic culture of this institution beyond measure, and I am proud that, today, more than 2,700 students from 124 countries study at the University of Georgia. As a major public research university committed to solving the grand challenges of the world, international engagement is a cornerstone of our mission. It is essential to our success.

The Office of International Education will continue to monitor developments related to the ongoing immigration issues and will provide updated information and assistance to members of our community who may be directly impacted. Rest assured that all members of our campus community are valued and that their well-being is paramount.

Meanwhile, UGA's Muslim Student Association told Flagpole today that it has not heard of any students affected by the ban and released a statement condemning the executive order.

In the time being, we'd like to say that we denounce the executive order, that this country was founded by immigrants, and to refuse anyone because of their nationality or religion is unconstitutional, and that we will do everything in our power to voice our objections and support anyone affected by the ban. 

There has been no evidence to prove refugees are a threat to our nation, so to ban families and individuals who are fleeing the same threats we're afraid of is absurd.

Only perhaps a dozen or fewer out of 750,000 refugees the U.S. has admitted since 9/11 has been arrested on terrorism charges, and no one from any of the nations covered by Trump's EO has carried out a fatal terrorist attack in the U.S. Refugees were already subject to a vetting process that took up to two years. The ban would not have stopped recent attacks like those in Orlando or San Bernardino, CA, because they were committed by U.S. citizens.

Earlier tonight, in a move many compared to President Nixon's Saturday Night MassacreTrump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to defend the order in court. Yates is a UGA law school graduate and former U.S. attorney for North Georgia.