Earlier today, the Coordinating Committee of the Coalition of Graduate Workers sent the following letter to Interim Chancellor Hank Foley of the University of Missouri – Columbia, calling for him to take immediate action regarding President Donald Trump’s January 27th executive order.
January 29, 2017
Henry C. Foley
105 Jesse Hall
University of Missouri – Columbia
Columbia, MO 65211
Coalition of Graduate Workers
PO Box 10265
511 E Walnut St
Columbia, MO 65201
Dear Interim Chancellor Foley:
In light of President Trump’s January 27th executive order restricting travel from seven primarily-Muslim countries, we, the Coordinating Committee of the Coalition of Graduate Workers, call upon your administration to take immediate action to protect the well-being and security of international students on the University of Missouri – Columbia campus, especially those graduate student employees from the affected countries of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
As reported by the New York Times, travelers from the aforementioned countries are already being detained upon entry into the United States, even after securing visas or permanent resident status following an exhaustive vetting process. There is no reason to expect any better treatment for our international students. While we agree that emotional support for our colleagues is important, as was stated in the recent communication from Assistant Vice Provost Jeni Hart, our University also needs to take definitive measures in the defense of its international student community.
Therefore, we call upon you, at a minimum, to issue the following guarantees:
- That all international student employees shall be informed of their legal rights, including the University’s legal obligations towards them;
- That the University shall uphold its legal responsibilities in maintaining the continued valid visa status of affected students;
- That no international student shall face a financial or academic penalty, such as a loss of student status, due to their inability to re-enter the United States as a result of this executive order;
- That no international graduate student employee shall face a loss of assistantship, fellowship, or other MU-provided financial aid or compensation due to their inability to re-enter the United States as a result of this executive order;
- That no funding or lab positions shall be cut as a result of visa difficulties resulting from this executive order;
- That all faculty and staff affected by this ruling shall also have their continued employment protected, and that the tenure process for untenured tenure-track faculty shall not be negatively affected by this executive order;
- And that the Chancellor’s Office will issue a public statement of support for affected international students, staff, and faculty, including the aforementioned guarantees.
In short, no international graduate student employee should fear a penalty to their academic career as a result of the short-sighted policies of the current federal administration. The same should hold true for other affected University faculty, staff, and students.
We look forward to your speedy response to this letter, and wish to offer your administration any assistance we may be able to render in serving the needs of our international student colleagues.
Coordinating Committee of the Coalition of Graduate Workers
Eric Scott, Chair
Mikkel Soelberg Christensen, International Student Affairs Officer
Julien Grayer, Diversity Officer
Joseph Moore, Outreach Officer
Eric Rowse, Financial Officer
Sarah Lirley McCune, Corresponding and Recording Officer
Sarah Senff, Organizing and Grievance Officer
Rachel Bauer, President, Graduate Professional Council
Zakaria El-Tayash, President, Muslim Student Association
Jeni Hart, Assistant Vice Provost for Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs
Omid Kamran-Disfani, President, Iranian Student Organization
Leona Rubin, Associate Vice Chancellor for Graduate Studies
James K. Scott, Director of the MU International Center
Ben Trachtenberg, Chair, Faculty Council