Emory president joins petition to rescind executive order

Feb. 2, 2017

Emory University President Claire E. Sterk and 47 other American college and university presidents sent a letter Feb. 2 to President Trump urging him to "rectify or rescind the recent executive order closing our country's borders to immigrants and others from seven majority-Muslim countries and to refugees from throughout the world."

"If left in place," the letter says, "the order threatens both American higher education and the defining principles of our country."

View the full letter here.


UPDATE: President Sterk noted her participation in the letter in a message emailed to the Emory community Feb. 6, pledging to "forcefully represent" the university's "core values of inclusion, compassion, collaboration, integrity, optimism and boldness."

Here is the full text of the email:

Dear Colleagues,

Last Thursday, I was among 48 American college and university presidents who sent a letter, by some referenced as the “Princeton letter,” to President Trump urging him to "rectify or rescind the recent executive order closing our country's borders to immigrants and others from seven majority-Muslim countries and to refugees from throughout the world. If left in place," we wrote, "the order threatens both American higher education and the defining principles of our country."

Later this week, I will be installed as Emory’s 20th president. Having committed to serve humanity, it is essential that we work together and remain true to our purpose. This is not an easy task during times when society is fragmented — close to home and around the world.

Recent threats to deport millions of immigrants, the potential gutting of environmental laws, and the order to close our borders hinder Emory’s ability to be a global research university and curtail our global — and thereby local — impact, including our impact in academic and health care domains. The contributions that bright, dedicated thinkers from all nations, faiths, and backgrounds have made to the collective welfare of our country cannot be overestimated.

Emory has stood for progress and knowledge many times throughout its history. As Emory's president, I will proudly stand with our faculty, students and alumni to clearly articulate and demonstrate what we stand for. I am encouraged by and committed to Emory's core values of inclusion, compassion, collaboration, integrity, optimism and boldness. I share these values and I will forcefully represent them.

Emory University is a safe harbor for students and faculty regardless of faith, nationality or background. I am incensed about the direct and indirect impact the current situation has on members of our community and pledge to continue our full support of all of our students — documented and undocumented — and work tirelessly against restrictions that impede the free flow of information and basic human rights.

A passionate expression of views on critical issues is something I would expect of the Emory community. I hear you and I stand with you. We may not agree on every action that should be taken, but we do agree fundamentally on the principles for which we fight. I promise to continue to listen and to lead.

Sincerely,

Claire E. Sterk