President Bollinger and Campus Community Speak Out Against Trump's Stance on Immigration

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More than five hundred people gathered in protest at Low Library on January 31. / Photograph by Michael Edmonson

Earlier this semester, Columbia President Lee C. Bollinger joined the leaders of forty-seven colleges and universities from across the US in signing a letter opposing President Donald Trump’s executive order to close America’s borders to immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries and to refugees from throughout the world.

“If left in place, the order threatens both American higher education and the defining principles of our country,” the letter reads. “American higher education has benefited tremendously from this country’s long history of embracing immigrants from around the world. Their innovations and scholarship have enhanced American learning, added to our prosperity, and enriched our culture.”

On the Morningside campus, students and faculty have organized protests against Trump’s stance on immigration. Just after the November election, hundreds gathered to voice opposition to Trump’s vow to deport millions of “Dreamers” — undocumented immigrants who have been in the US since childhood and are permitted to study and work here under an executive order signed by President Barack Obama ’83CC in 2014.  Another, larger protest was held after Trump instituted the restrictions on travel. Bollinger also addressed the ban in a strongly worded e-mail to faculty, students, and staff.

“It is important to remind ourselves that the United States has not, except in episodes of national shame, excluded individuals from elsewhere in the world because of their religious or political beliefs,” he wrote. “We have learned that generalized fears of threats to our security do not justify exceptions to our founding ideals. There are many powerful and self-evident reasons not to abandon these core values, but among them is the fact that invidious discrimination often adds fuel to deeply harmful stereotypes and hostility affecting our own citizens.”


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