University files amicus brief

April 13, 2017

Georgetown joined 30 other universities in filing an amicus brief in opposition to President Trump’s recent executive order banning travel from six Muslim-majority countries. An amicus brief is a document filed in appeals court by groups or people with an interest in a case, but who are not directly involved in the proceedings.

In the brief, the universities write that their missions of education are reliant upon faculty and students from countries all over the world.

“Because amici seek to educate future world leaders, attract the world’s best scholars, faculty, and students, and work across international borders, they rely on the ability to welcome international students, faculty, and scholars into their communities,” they wrote in the brief.

The universities filed the brief in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, where a case is challenging the travel ban for Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. Other signatory universities include Harvard, Yale, and George Washington University.

University President John DeGioia issued a statement that the university will work to support students, faculty, and staff of all races, religions, and national origins.

“Since our founding, and through the continuing efforts of generations, our University has been a place where people of diverse faith traditions, different nationalities and ethnicities, backgrounds and identities come together to be immersed in academic life—to learn, to be in dialogue, to serve, and to worship and pray—together,” DeGioia wrote in an April 3 email to the student body.

The university’s Office of Global Services has engaged a law firm to offer free legal services to students, faculty, and staff from affected countries, as well as American Civil Liberties Union “Know Your Rights” training events.

On March 20, the Faculty Senate issued a resolution in opposition to the executive order which instituted the ban, saying that rejecting people from entering the country based on national origin, and perceived religious association was in opposition to American and Jesuit values.

“We depend on academic communities world-wide to enrich our own scholarly endeavors, including those in the targeted nations, and they depend on ours.  Bans based on religion or nationality thwart our efforts, rooted in the Jesuit tradition, to promote interfaith and inter-cultural understanding,” they wrote.

The Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS) issued a Jan 30 statement regarding the travel ban. The statement says that the CCAS was founded to provide a bridge between students at Georgetown and the Arab world, and that it will stand by this commitment in the new political reality it finds itself in.

“We assure our students, scholars, staff, and board members that we will continue to stand together as a community of mutual respect and care, and to oppose those who would question our shared commitment to intellectual freedom, social justice, and human dignity,” the statement reads.

The case will be argued on May 8 and is one of several legal challenges to the travel ban which will be heard.

Noah Telerski
Noah Telerski is a senior in the college studying government and economics and is the Editor-in-Chief of the Voice. He enjoys playing his guitar, talking about New Hampshire, and wearing Hawaiian shirts on Fridays.

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