AAUP@FHSU


AAUP Opposes DHS Ban on International Students

Last week, the higher education community reeled from the shock of a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) ruling that bars international students from being in the United States if they are enrolled in institutions that will only offer online instruction this fall. This news came at a time when many colleges and universities had already made announcements about the new academic year, which meant that plans for remote learning made with public health in mind would have the unintended effect of excluding international students.

Yesterday, the AAUP released a statement about the ruling. It begins,

The Department of Homeland Security’s July 6 ruling regarding international students and the upcoming 2020–21 academic year is but the latest example of the Trump administration’s callous cruelty, especially toward immigrants and those it deems “other.” The American Association of University Professors thus joins many other higher education organizations and colleagues in the labor movement in calling on the administration to allow all international students to obtain or retain visas to continue their education at US institutions, regardless of whether they participate remotely, in person, or through a hybrid model and regardless of whether they are studying inside or outside the United States, during this unprecedented global health crisis.

Read the full statement.

The AAUP also joined over seventy other higher education organizations yesterday in submitting an amicus brief, prepared by the American Council on Education (ACE), in support of a legal challenge filed by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology against the DHS in the US District Court in Massachusetts. The challenge seeks to prevent the DHS directive from taking effect so that thousands of international students can continue to participate in educational opportunities in the United States, even if their course of study is online. The amicus brief notes that “with the stroke of a pen, the global standing of our nation and its preeminent higher educational system will needlessly suffer again from exclusionary policies that—contrary to long-held national values of openness and interconnection—single out international students and arbitrarily threaten their eligibility to collaborate, learn, and share their many talents at American colleges and universities.” You can find the amicus brief and a summary here.
On Friday the AAUP, along with dozens of other higher education organizations, signed on to a letter from ACE president Ted Mitchell to Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The letter states, “We urge the administration to rethink its position and offer international students and institutions the flexibility necessary to safely navigate resuming their educational activities in the midst of this crisis in ways that take into account the health and safety of our students and staff in the upcoming academic year.” Read the full letter.

The national AAUP will continue to work with other higher education organizations, our organizing partner AFT, and our chapters and state conferences to ensure that campuses can move forward in the fall with reopening plans that are safe for and inclusive of all members of the higher education community.

In solidarity,
Julie Schmid
Executive Director

P.S. On Friday we also released early an article from the upcoming Journal of Academic Freedom with a pertinent analysis of how US immigration laws influence campus and impose enforcement roles on colleges and universities. Read Abigail Boggs’s “On Borders and Academic Freedom: Noncitizen Students and the Limits of Rights.”


Assault on Research and Academic Freedom

Dear Ron,

The Trump administration’s disregard for assaults on science has been well documented by the AAUP, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and others. Now President Trump himself has attacked the credibility of a study by George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. He falsely claimed that the study, which found some 2,975 excess deaths in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria hit the island in September 2017, was “done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible.”

The AAUP takes no position on the accuracy or inaccuracy of the GWU study or, for that matter, of any other scientific research.  But such research can be properly evaluated only by qualified experts through open channels of review and debate. Studies of this sort must not become political footballs.  For the president of the United States to accuse scholars of political bias, without a shred of evidence, is an unacceptable assault on independent research and the academic freedom of scientists.

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The AAUP

P.S. A link to the statement can be found here.


Amicus brief supports sanctuary jurisdictions

The AAUP joined this week with other groups, including members of the California Community College System, in filing an amicus brief in support of a permanent injunction against a Trump administration executive order that sought to strip federal funding from “sanctuary jurisdictions.” The lawsuit resulting in the injunction was filed by the city of San Francisco. The AAUP’s interest in the case stems from the potential application of the executive order to colleges and universities. Such an extension would negatively impact colleges’ and universities’ ability to carry out their public mission and their interests in developing a diverse student body. Allowing the executive order to stand would also set a dangerous precedent for the proposition that the president may unilaterally use the threat of withholding federal funding in a broad and punitive manner as part of an effort to coerce colleges and universities to participate in federal immigration enforcement. Joining this amicus brief enables the AAUP to participate in a precedent-setting case on issues of great national significance that affect the ability of universities to develop and support a diverse student body, regardless of students’ immigration status.

The case, now in front of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, is the City and County of San Francisco v. Trump. The brief was primarily authored by Robin Johansen and Kathleen Purcell, attorneys with Remcho Johansen & Purcell LLP.

Risa Lieberwitz
AAUP General Counsel