The following letter by forty-eight US university presidents and chancellors was sent to President Trump on February 2, 2017. —The Editors

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
United States of America

Dear President Trump:

We write as presidents of leading American colleges and universities to urge you to rectify or rescind the recent executive order closing our country’s borders to immigrants and others from seven majority-Muslim countries and to refugees from throughout the world. If left in place, the order threatens both American higher education and the defining principles of our country.

The order specifically prevents talented, law-abiding students and scholars from the affected regions from reaching our campuses. American higher education has benefited tremendously from this country’s long history of embracing immigrants from around the world. Their innovations and scholarship have enhanced American learning, added to our prosperity, and enriched our culture. Many who have returned to their own countries have taken with them the values that are the lifeblood of our democracy. America’s educational, scientific, economic, and artistic leadership depends upon our continued ability to attract the extraordinary people who for many generations have come to this country in search of freedom and a better life.

This action unfairly targets seven predominantly Muslim countries in a manner inconsistent with America’s best principles and greatest traditions. We welcome outstanding Muslim students and scholars from the United States and abroad, including the many who come from the seven affected countries. Their vibrant contributions to our institutions and our country exemplify the value of the religious diversity that has been a hallmark of American freedom since this country’s founding. The American dream depends on continued fidelity to that value.

We recognize and respect the need to protect America’s security. The vetting procedures already in place are rigorous. Improvements to them should be based on evidence, calibrated to real risks, and consistent with constitutional principle.

Throughout its history America has been a land of opportunity and a beacon of freedom in the world. It has attracted talented people to our shores and inspired people around the globe. This executive order is dimming the lamp of liberty and staining the country’s reputation. We respectfully urge you to rectify the damage done by this order.


Robert L. Barchi, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Joanne Berger-Sweeney, Trinity College
Lee C. Bollinger, Columbia University
Robert A. Brown, Boston University
Ronald J. Daniels, Johns Hopkins University
Nicholas B. Dirks, University of California, Berkeley
Adam F. Falk, Williams College
Patrick Gallagher, University of Pittsburgh
Amy Gutmann, University of Pennsylvania
Philip J. Hanlon, Dartmouth College
Ralph J. Hexter, University of California, Davis
Kimberly W. Benston, Haverford College
George Blumenthal, University of California, Santa Cruz
Richard H. Brodhead, Duke University
Kimberly Wright Cassidy, Bryn Mawr College
John J. DeGioia, Georgetown University
Christopher L. Eisgruber, Princeton University
Drew Gilpin Faust, Harvard University
Howard Gillman, University of California, Irvine
Andrew Hamilton, New York University
Sam Hawgood, MBBS, University of California, San Francisco
Reverend John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., University of Notre Dame
Pradeep K. Khosla, University of California, San Diego
David W. Leebron, Rice University
Wallace D. Loh, University of Maryland, College Park
David Oxtoby, Pomona College
Daniel R. Porterfield, Franklin & Marshall College
Hunter R. Rawlings III, Cornell University
Peter Salovey, Yale University
Mark Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D., University of Michigan
Barbara R. Snyder, Case Western Reserve University
Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., Stony Brook University
Claire E. Sterk, Emory University
Marvin Krislov, Oberlin College
Ron Liebowitz, Brandeis University
Anthony P. Monaco, Tufts University
Christina H. Paxson, Brown University
Carol Quillen, Davidson College
Clayton Rose, Bowdoin College
Michael H. Schill, University of Oregon
Valerie Smith, Swarthmore College
Debora L. Spar, Barnard College
Sonya Stephens, Mount Holyoke College
Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Stanford University
Satish K. Tripathi, University at Buffalo
Mark S. Wrighton, Washington University in St. Louis
Henry T. Yang, University of California, Santa Barbara
Nicholas S. Zeppos, Vanderbilt University