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Northwestern University

Letter from the Dean

At the Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences we value intellectual diversity deeply. This means acknowledging and respecting a great range of ideas, even conflicting ideas.

In this context and in light of current events — including the recent executive order limiting the entry of individuals from six majority Muslim countries into the United States — I want to reaffirm several tenets on which our community is founded.

We at the College realize that in today’s world, nation-states may choose to regulate borders; moreover, countries do develop norms for legal immigration. While it is appropriate to debate these fundamental procedures and policies, one cannot overlook the obvious symbolism of the recent executive order. As numberless commentators have pointed out, attempts to package this revised executive order as a protection against terrorism are specious. It is, instead, a form of what has been called explicitly a “Muslim ban.” The nativism and concomitant racism that underpins such a ban is contrary not only to the best of impulses that led to the founding of the United States, but also to the positive tide of history, which has led to increased tolerance and inclusion. It is also at odds with the fundamental character of our intellectual community at Weinberg College.

I write, too, during a wave of antisemitic desecrations and threats, and attacks on vulnerable individuals and immigrant communities. I join the many voices at Northwestern and beyond condemning these outrageous acts. While praising our country for its progress, we must also draw attention to such regressions, which are demoralizing and terrifying. Such actions too are contrary to what we, at Weinberg College, seek to promote.

We must, indeed, remind ourselves of our fundamental mission: to produce new knowledge and pass it on to future generations. In our College, this is necessarily a transnational agenda, one which will be pursued in concert with individuals from this country and others. While we at Weinberg College cannot control who enters the United States, we will continue to pursue our mission without considering the immigration status of our students. Moreover, we will continue to foster the interculturalism that informs and sustains so much of what we do.

Should any member of our community have questions about the implications of the revised executive order or about issues relating to immigration status, please feel free to reach out to the International Office, which will either answer your questions or pass them on to others who can. The University has developed support services for those affected by recent policy changes, and we are eager to ensure that those who need help know where to turn.

Adrian Randolph, Dean
Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences

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