European universities call for immediate rethink of Trump’s executive order

31 January 2017

The European University Association (EUA) is deeply concerned by the executive order issued by US President Donald Trump and its immediate and unnecessary consequences on international researchers, university faculty and students.

The order, temporarily preventing entrance into the US of persons from seven Muslim-majority countries, unfairly disrupts not only individual lives but is potentially damaging to the free flow of people and ideas that is paramount in higher education and research.

EUA Secretary General, Lesley Wilson, said: “While President Trump’s security concerns may be justified, this is playing politics with the world’s knowledge pool and with academics’ and students’ lives."

“A major knowledge economy like that of the US cannot allow itself to be closed off. It is not only ethically wrong, it is also a major obstacle to the vital flow of global talent. Universities are already seeing the consequences for their staff and students, but this is and will be extremely problematic in many sectors.”
 
The travel restrictions, while directed at the cited countries, are affecting the movement of students and scholars involved in partnerships, academic conferences, research field visits and international study programmes in universities and communities around the world, including those in Europe.

EUA calls on US President Trump to recall or reformulate this executive order to avoid any threat to the free flow of people and knowledge and for the new administration to acknowledge the overall importance of global mobility and openness for society as a whole.

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