Rowan University President Dr. Ali Houshmand issued a statement to students late Monday afternoon expressing opposition to President Donald Trump’s recent executive order establishing an immigration ban on seven countries in the Middle East and Africa.
The emailed statement, entitled “Immigration Ban Affects All of Us,” states that while the fear of terrorism is rational, the ban is not the proper response to that fear.
“We understand the fear of additional terror attacks on American soil, but we have faith that Homeland Security and other federal and state agencies are prepared to monitor and protect our nation without the need for such a ban,” the email said.
“We understand the fear that the executive order includes restrictions that are so broadly written that they target not only those fleeing violence and oppression – gravely impacting some of the most vulnerable – but also many people who have been living as residents and U.S. citizens,” it continued.
The email concludes by encouraging students to debate and discuss their positions on the ban “civilly and respectfully.”
Houshmand is an Iranian immigrant who came to the United States after receiving a bachelor’s and master’s degree in the United Kingdom. Iran is one of seven countries directly affected by President Trump’s executive order, along with Sudan, Yemen, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Somalia.
“Obviously, he has personal beliefs about it, but this is a university message,” said Rowan University Spokesman Joe Cardona.
The president’s statement is in line with the position issued on Saturday by the Association of American Universities, which “urges quick end” to the order.
You can read the university president’s full statement here, or at the end of this page.
The following is the complete text of President Houshmand’s emailed statement on behalf of the university community:
Immigration Ban Affects All of Us
We are, for the most part, a nation of immigrants. Some of our ancestors had no say in coming to the United States. Some came to our country to avoid religious persecution or settled here seeking better opportunities for their children. And, some of you entered the United States to study or to teach.
No doubt you are aware of President Donald Trump’s executive order that bans entry into the United States for people from seven countries for the next 90 days and for all refugees for 120 days. The move, according to the administration, is designed to keep radical terrorists out of our country.
We understand the fear of additional terror attacks on American soil, but we have faith that Homeland Security and other federal and state agencies are prepared to monitor and protect our nation without the need for such a ban.
We also understand the fear that the executive order includes restrictions that are so broadly written that they target not only those fleeing violence and oppression — gravely impacting some of the most vulnerable — but also many people who have been living as residents and U.S. citizens. These include individuals who have contributed positively to our country’s knowledge base and economy for years and even decades — some of them members of our faculty and staff at Rowan.
The executive order has been met with protest across the country and, yes, also with praise. No doubt here at Rowan University, this will be one of many topics about which students, faculty and friends may have differing opinions.
Have your opinions. Share your opinions. But please do so civilly, respectfully. Remember that we at Rowan University support all members of our community, regardless of their nationality, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual identity or gender expression — and regardless of whether they agree with us.
As our University and our nation continue to evaluate all sides of this situation, I invite you to read the statement from the Association of American Universities. We join the AAU in asking our government to continue to welcome the students, professors and researchers from all lands who contribute to making this nation great — and we hope our nation always will open a door to those whose very lives are at risk.
Very truly yours,
Dr. Ali A. Houshmand