The Faculty Senate released a statement condemning President Donald Trump’s immigration ban and showing support for affected students, faculty, and staff. In the Feb. 21 statement, which was emailed to students, faculty, and staff, the Faculty Senate wrote that the president’s action was, anti-American “We condemn the order not only as an affront to human decency, but also as undermining our ability to teach, to conduct research, and to serve the nation and world,” they wrote.
Wayne Davis, president of the Faculty Senate, said the senate did not make these types of resolutions often but felt it was necessary in this case because of the impact the immigration ban had on members of the Georgetown community. “We have students from these particular countries who are here and now if they go home for the holidays, they don’t know if they’ll get back. If relatives want to come visit, they don’t know if they can do that,” Davis said.
He was also concerned about the impact on admissions for Georgetown in the future, as many international students were worried about coming to the United States to study in light of potential new restrictions. “They feel it isn’t a welcoming place or it’s a risky place to come,” Davis said.
The statement was sent out to international students currently in the process of applying to Georgetown in an effort to make them more comfortable with the idea of coming here to study.
Davis said the impact was largely positive. “I got one nasty-gram from a faculty member…. and a couple from students, but nearly everybody else is very positive,” he said. One faculty member had criticized the Faculty Senate for placing too much emphasis on religion when Trump’s ban was targeted at national origin, but Davis defended their decision. “Our feeling was that even though it wasn’t written specifically directed at religion, the underlying motive was pretty clear,” he said.
Megan Bodette (SFS ’20), who protested against the ban, wrote in an email to the Voice that she was grateful for the scope of the statement. “I like how [the statement]stressed both the impact on the Georgetown community and the broader abrogation of American values. The ban affects individual lives and communities and widely shared values at the same time– so it is necessary to address both,” she wrote.
Davis said faculty told him they were in support of the ban and that it made them proud to be at Georgetown. Davis noted that the university was taking other steps, such as sending a liaison to Capitol Hill to argue against the ban. Faculty from the law center are also working with the ACLU and volunteering their services at airports.
Bodette wrote that she believed the Faculty Senate should have issued their statement sooner, and stressed that it was not sufficient on its own. “Statements must be the beginning of the Georgetown community’s reaction to regressive, dangerous policy, and not the end,” she wrote, mentioning organizations such as Dulles Justice and No One Left Behind, as well as the Heed the Call initiative as other steps students and faculty could take.
Davis praised the university for banding together during this time. He added, “It’s amazing how impacted everybody is and how concerned they are.”