Widgets Magazine

OPINIONS

Letter to the community: Faculty statement on recent executive orders

Writer’s note: This piece is an open letter signed by members of the Stanford Faculty. Faculty wishing to add their names to the letter may do so here.

We write on two matters of immediate concern: the situation of undocumented students, and of community members now subject to the so-called “Muslim Ban.” Both these groups are now severely affected by measures that tear at the fabric of our community and run counter to our core principles. They also bespeak a callous disregard for the Constitution and international law.

We commend the Stanford administration for its swift response to President Trump’s remarks during the presidential campaign and since taking office, its commitment to defend DACA, and its declaration of support for these students. We call on the University to issue a more substantial statement that recognizes the danger many community members face at this moment, enumerates positive actions it will take with that recognition in mind, and also elaborates more fully how these actions are consistent with specific values to which Stanford is and has always been deeply committed.  

Stanford’s statement of Nov. 19 contains many good things. It states that: “Stanford will continue to provide services and support to our students without regard to their immigration status. The university supports the ability of undocumented students to continue their studies at Stanford and earn a degree.”

It also says that: “The university does not act as an immigration enforcement agency. It does not collect or share information about whether students are undocumented (nor does it disclose the ethnicity or religion of individual students). And it would not provide information to law enforcement authorities about the immigration status of individuals except in specific instances in which it is legally required.”

This language assures us that Stanford will continue to act as it has done in the past. However, at this urgent and alarming moment, we call on the University to acknowledge the new historical situation that faces us, and the pressing need to be more assertive under these circumstances.

Exemplary is a statement made by Fr. Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., President of the University of San Francisco, during an interview with CNN: “We will use every legal means to protect [undocumented students].”

We do not think we are simply wordsmithing by asking that Stanford adopt a similarly direct tone; on the contrary, we believe that such a tone signals to students and others that we acknowledge the severity of the problem.

It is, of course, not just a matter of words but also of actions. Columbia University has put in place specific measures to address likely contingencies, again pledging to serve all students as usual, but also stating in clear terms how the University will respond to potential action by the new presidential administration:

“If the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) policy is terminated or substantially curtailed and students with DACA status lose the right to work, the University pledges to expand the financial aid and other support we make available to undocumented students, regardless of their immigration status. It is of the utmost importance that federal policies and laws do not derail the education of students whose enrollment at Columbia and other colleges or universities is made possible by DACA…

“To provide additional support, the Office of University Life is hosting a series of small-group, private information sessions specifically for undocumented students in our community, including DACA recipients, to offer support and guidance regarding possible changes in the law. Affected students can contact the Office directly for more information. Separately, our International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) is scheduling information sessions and is prepared to provide assistance via its telephone helplines to any of our international students with questions or concerns.”

Likewise, the University of California issued a statement noting that it would “vigorously protect the privacy and civil rights of the undocumented members of the UC community,” and that, among other things, “The University will not cooperate with any federal effort to create a registry of individuals based on any protected characteristics such as religion, national origin, race or sexual orientation,” and that it will undertake actions that again indicate the breadth and detail of UC’s concern:  “UC medical centers will treat all patients without regard to race, religion, national origin, citizenship or other protected characteristics and will vigorously enforce nondiscrimination and privacy laws and policies.”

We hope Stanford can issue a statement that advances its initial statement in the manners suggested. It is critical to acknowledge the depth, uniqueness and urgency of the situation, and Stanford’s commitment to act in ways that acknowledge this.

We are grateful for your swift response to the new executive order banning travel to and from certain designated countries. We especially applaud your offer of counseling and advising to community members most affected by this terrible measure. We also recognize, as you point out in your response to the recent executive actions, that “national security and counterterrorism considerations are of course vital to effective immigration policy. But the current situation is causing deeply regrettable alarm and uncertainty for many people who are part of the academic community here in the United States.”

We hasten to add that this ban is a clear violation of the First Amendment’s establishment clause. To single out people for protection and/or exclusion based on religion is not only a breach of the values that are central to our University’s mission; it is also unconstitutional. To comply with or remain silent on this policy is to imply consent, and such implied consent is something for which history will judge us harshly. The possible illegality of this measure has prompted a federal court judge to issue a stay.

Again, Columbia University’s President Lee Bollinger issued a strong statement in acknowledgment of this fact; his letter reads in part:

“As I have said on many occasions, it is critically important that the University, as such, not take stands on ideological or political issues. Yet it is also true that the University, as an institution in the society, must step forward to object when policies and state action conflict with its fundamental values, and especially when they bespeak purposes and a mentality that are at odds with our basic mission.”

We ask Stanford to join Columbia and other universities in making clear its moral outrage over these recent actions on the part of Donald Trump’s administration, and to offer specific actions in response. We urge the University to be more precise about how these measures violate specific core values of our academic community — for instance, the right to education, academic freedom, equal treatment under the law, our sense that our educational mission depends on each of our members having equal access to education and freedom from harassment or threat.

Only by being more precise, thorough, and more assertive will the full force of Stanford’s commitment to these and other values in these very troubling times be felt. We specifically call on Stanford to bring to bear its vast financial, intellectual and human resources to protect members of our community who are threatened by the president’s actions. We make these calls as collaborators in this effort. Indeed, as members of the Stanford community, we are ready and willing to take action to ensure that Stanford vigorously supports, practices and defends inclusiveness.

Stanford rightfully prides itself for its openness to the world, its participation in a global community and our commitment to educate global citizens. We must do everything possible to defend its character against measures that act precisely against that vision and to issue a strong rebuke to these heinous and cruel acts.  

We, as members of the Stanford faculty, wish to go on record as expressing, in the strongest terms possible, our unwavering determination to protect our students and the most vulnerable members of our community. We wish to express our condemnation of these measures and our absolute commitment to offering protection, aid and moral support to those most immediately affected by them. We also express our commitment to continue to speak out against these and any other measures or actions undertaken by the Trump administration that are similarly bigoted, hateful and cruel.

 

Respectfully signed,

Tomás Jiménez, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

David Palumbo-Liu, Louise Hewlett Nixon Professor, Department of Comparative Literature

Jonathan Gienapp, Assistant Professor, Department of History

Melanie Morten, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics

Matthew H. Sommer, Professor, Department of History

Ana Raquel Minian, Assistant Professor, Department of History

Vincent Barletta, Associate Professor, Division of Language, Cultures, and Literature

Allyson Hobbs, Associate Professor, Department of History

Estelle B. Freedman, Robinson Professor, Department of History

Jun Uchida, Associate Professor, Department of History and Director of the Center for East Asian Studies

Steven Zipperstein, Koshland Professor, Department of History

Priya Satia, Associate Professor, Department of History

Jose David Saldivar, Leon Sloss, Jr. Professor, Department of Comparative Literature

Indra Levy, Associate Professor, East Asian Languages & Cultures, Comparative Literature

Gregory Deierlein, Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Jack Baker, Associate Professor, Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Ramon Martinez, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education

Laura Stokes, Associate Professor, Department of History

Richard White, Margaret Byrne Professor of American History, Department of History

Pascaline Dupas, Associate Professor, Department of Economics

Mohammad Akbarpour, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Business

B. Douglas Bernheim, Edward Ames Edmonds Professor and Chair, Department of Economics

Liran Einav, Professor, Department of Economics

Paula M. L. Moya, Professor, Department of English

Ramón Saldívar, Hoagland Family Professor of Humanities and Sciences, Department of English

Mohsen Bayati, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Business

Richard Roberts, Frances and Charles Field Professor, Department of History

Elaine Treharne, Roberta Bowman Denning Professor of Humanities, Department of English

Claire Jarvis, Assistant Professor, Department of English

Michaela Bronstein, Assistant Professor, Department of English

David D. Laitin, Professor, Department of Political Science

Jeffrey Hancock, Professor, Department of Communication

Matthew Snipp, Professor, Department of Sociology

Rush Rehm, Professor, Departments of Classics and Theater and Performance Studies

Nancy Ruttenburg, William Robertson Coe Professor of American Literature, Department of English

Jeanne Tsai, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology

David B. Grusky, Professor, Department of Sociology

Rishee Jain, Assistant Professor, School of Engineering

Gabriella Safran, Professor, Slavic Languages and Literatures

Michelle Jackson, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

Shelley Fisher Fishkin, Joseph S. Atha Professor of Humanities Department of English

Mark Andrew Algee- Hewit, Assistant Professor, Department of English

Stephen Monismith, Obayashi Professor, School of Engineering

Amit Seru, Professor of Finance, Graduate School of Business

Jody Maxmin, Associate Professor, Departments of Art History & Classics

Nicolas Lambert, Assistant Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Business

Marci Kwon, Assistant Professor, Department of Art & Art History

Guadalupe Valdés, Bonnie Katz Tenenbaum Professor, Graduate School of Education

Amin Saberi, Associate Professor, Department of Management Science and Engineering

Terry Berlier, Associate Professor, Department of Art & Art History

Todd Davies, Lecturer, Symbolic Systems Program

Jamie Meltzer, Associate Professor, Department of Art & Art History

Paul Milgrom, Ely Professor, Department of Economics

Amado Padilla, Professor, Graduate School of Education

Michelle Wilde Anderson, Professor of Law, Law School

Darrell Duffie, Professor, Graduate School of Business

Sarah Soule, Professor, Graduate School of Business

Joan Petersilia, Professor, Law School

Tobias Wolff, Woods Professor Emeritus, Department of English

Anthony L. Antonio, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education

Matthew Jackson, Professor, Department of Economics

Srdan Keca, Assistant Professor, Department of Art & Art History

Jennifer DeVere Brody, Professor, Department of Theater & Performance Studies

Nancy J. Troy, Victoria and Roger Sant Professor in Art, Department of Art & Art History

Joel Beinin, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Department of History

Paul Robinson, Professor Emeritus, Department of History

Eric Roberts, Professor Emeritus, Department of Computer Science

Kenneth Fields, Professor, English Department

Richard P. Martin, Antony and Isabelle Raubitschek Professor, Department of Classics

Hazel Rose Markus, Davis-Brack Professor in Behavioral Sciences, Department of Psychology

David Lobell, Associate Professor, School of Earth Energy and Environmental Sciences

Shane Denson, Assistant Professor, Department of Art & Art History

Cecilia L. Ridgeway, Lucie Stern Professor, Department of Sociology

Chang-rae Lee, Woods Professor, Department of English

Elizabeth S. Egan, Assistant Professor; Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine

Fiona Griffiths, Professor, Department of History

Usha Iyer, Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Art History

Dafna Zur, Assistant Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Toussaint Nothias, Lecturer, Center for African Studies

Kathleen Kelly Janus, Lecturer, Stanford Program on Social Entrepreneurship

Charles I. Jones, STANCO 25 Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Business

J.P. Daughton, Associate Professor, Department of History

Jeremy Freese, Professor, Department of Sociology

Thomas S. Mullaney, Associate Professor, Department of History

Fred Turner, Harry and Norman Chandler Professor, Department of Communication

David Katzenstein, Professor, School of Medicine

Robb Willer, Professor, Department of Sociology

Pamela M. Lee, Osgood Hooker Professor, Department of Art and Art History

Mikael Wolfe, Assistant Professor, Department of History

Thomas K Seligman, Freidenrich Director Emeritus, Cantor Arts Center

Sianne Ngai, Professor, Department of English

Haiyan Lee, Professor, EALC; DLCL

Alexander Key, Assistant Professor, Department of Comparative Literature

Krish Seetah, Anthropology

Ari Y. Kelman, Jim Joseph Professor of Education and Jewish Studies, Graduate School of Education

Leonard Ortolano, Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Clayborne Carson, Martin Luther King Jr. Centennial Professor, Department of History

C. Lanier Benkard, Gregor G. Peterson Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Business

Susan Olzak, Professor Emerita, Department of Sociology

James Reichert, Associate Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

James Ferguson, Susan S. and William H. Hindle Professor, Department of Anthropology

Thomas Blom, Hansen Reliance Dhirubhai Ambani Professor, Department of Anthropology

Sharika Thiranagama, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology

John Willinsky, Professor, Graduate School of Education

Yoshiko Matsumoto, Yamato Ichihashi Professor of Japanese History and Civilization, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Alexandria Boehm, Professor, CEE/SOE

Angela Garcia, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology

Nancy Kollmann, William H. Bonsall Professor, Department of History

Desiree LaBeaud, Associate professor, School of Medicine

Gabriel Weintraub, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Business

Terry Karl, Professor (Emeritus), Department of Political Science

Enrique Chagoya, Professor, Department of Art and Art History

Doug McAdam, Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor, Department of Sociology

Karla Oeler, Associate Professor, Art & Art History

Adeyinka Fashokun, Lecturer, Stanford Language Center

Mark Edward Lewis, Professor, Department of History

Takeo Hoshi, Senior Fellow, Freeman Spogli Institute

Yinyu Ye, Professor, Management Sciences and Engineering

Corey D. Fields, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

Jean Ma, Associate Professor, Art & Art History

Miyako Inoue, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology

Jenna Davis, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Shirin Sinnar, Associate Professor, Stanford Law School

James Fearon, Professor, Department of Political Science

Roland Greene, Professor, Departments of English and Comparative Literature

Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu, Lecturer, Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity

Peggy Phelan, Professor, Departments of English and Theater and Performance Studies

Sylvia Yanagisako, Edward Clark Crossett Professor of Humanistic Studies, Department of Anthropology

Peter Stansky, Professor Emeritus, Department of History

Richard B. Dasher, Adjunct Professor, Departments of Electrical Engineering

Daniel Sneider, Associate Director for Research, Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center

Vicky Fouka, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science

Paulla Ebron, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology

David Warren Beach, Professor (Teaching), Department of Mechanical Engineering

Scott Bukatman, Professor, Department of Film and Media Studies

Brian Blackburn. Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Medicine

Kuang Xu, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Business

Ramzi Salti, Lecturer, Stanford Language Center

Erin MacDonald, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Bernard Roth, Professor; Mechanical Engineering

Allison Okamura, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering (School of Engineering)

Jindong Cai, Associate Professor (Performance), Center for East Asian Studies

Jessica Riskin, Professor, Department of History

Bruce B. Lusignan, Associate Professor Emeritus, School of Engineering

Jaroslaw Kapuscinski, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Music

Bryan J. Wolf, Jones Professor Emeritus, Department of Art and Art History

William Burnett, Adjunct Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Marie Huber, Assistant Professor, Department of Comparative Literature

Yumi Moon, Associate Professor, Department of History

Cristobal Young, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

Simon Klemperer, Professor, Department of Geophysics

Cheryl Koopman, Professor (Research) Emerita, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences

Dan Iancu, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Business

Ivan Lupić, Assistant Professor Simon Klemperer English

Tanya Marie Luhrmann, Watkins University Professor, Department of Anthropology

Barbara Voss, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology

Yonatan Gur, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Business

Albert Camarillo, Professor Emeritus, Department of History

Gavin Jones, Professor, Department of English

Chris Chafe, Professor, Department of Music

Sharad Goel, Assistant Professor, Management Science and Engineering

Joel Samoff, Adjunct Professor, Humanities and Sciences

J Edward Carryer, Adjunct Professor, Mechanical Engineering

Shelley Correll, Director, Clayman Institute; Professor, Department of Sociology

Philip Pizzo, MD Professor, Department of Pediatrics

Gi-Wook Shin, Professor & Senior Fellow; Department of Sociology and the Freeman Spogli Institute

Perry L. McCarty, Professor Emeritus, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Johan Ugander, Assistant Professor, Department of Management Science & Engineering

Michael Kahan, Acting Director and Senior Lecturer, Program on Urban Studies Department of Sociology

Michele Dauber, Frederick I. Richman Professor, School of Law

Margaret Cohen, Andrew B. Hammond Professor, Divisions of Languages, Cultures, and Languages and English

Jeremy M Weinstein, Professor, Department of Political Science

Laura Wittman, Associate Professor, Divisions of Languages, Cultures, and Languages

Gordon H. Chang, Olive Palmer Professor in the Humanities, Department of History