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President Alison Byerly sent the following message to the campus community on Jan. 29, 2017.

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

I know that many are concerned about the possible impact on our community of the Executive Order announced by President Trump on Friday, which bans immigrants from seven countries from entering the United States, or re-entering if they are U.S. residents traveling abroad. Although a federal judge issued an emergency order late yesterday that bars deportation of travelers currently in transit, or those with valid visas, concerns remain.

We have confirmed that no Lafayette students who might be affected by the travel ban are currently studying abroad or have immediate plans to travel. Chaplain Alex Hendrickson has also been in touch with Muslim students, and Provost Abu Rizvi will be meeting with them tomorrow. I know that a range of groups and organizations on campus will also be seeking ways to show their support.

Amidst nationwide protests involving people and politicians from both political parties, several thousand academics have signed a petition calling on President Trump to reconsider this executive order, stating that such “unethical and discriminatory treatment of law-abiding, hard-working and well-integrated immigrants” is “detrimental to the national interests of the United States.” I have signed this petition.

As a proud citizen of a country that has long stood as a beacon of hope and freedom across the world, as a Pennsylvania-born resident of a state whose cultural and educational institutions are deeply rooted in traditions of religious tolerance, and as the leader of a college that is named after a foreign-born patriot who risked his life for the cause of liberty in America, I deplore actions that threaten to undermine principles that I cherish.

While political views across our extended community no doubt differ, I hope that we all share a commitment to supporting the rights of students who have come to Lafayette in pursuit of education, and faculty and staff who are committed to helping to provide that education, whatever their religion or nation of origin. My thanks to all of you for your support of our community during this time.

President Alison Byerly

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  1. Richard Jerry J.Smith says:

    The recent executive order temporarily prohibiting people from the 7 terrorist-producing countries is a way to safeguard the citizens of the United States. The temporary ban of people coming from these countries will be lifted within a few months. Those people who have visas and who have already been properly vetted will be allowed into the country. This order was made so as to protect the citizens of the U.S. from terrorist attacks such as the bombings and shootings in France, Turkey, Germany and other countries. The order was made so as to protect our citizens from un-vetted jihad terrorists. Let’s give our elected president a chance and in time we all will be a lot safer.

  2. Marteena Caple '00 says:

    Thank you for this statement! I have never felt prouder of my alma mater.

    1. Robert Small "71 says:

      Dr. Byerly: It is deeply disappointing that the President of my alma mater determined to gratuitously weigh in on this matter; especially so, given that the President’s Executive Order apparently will have absolutely no effect on the Lafayette community other than as fodder for political debate. Worse still, your one-sided portrayal of the EO is not only revealing of your political stripe (which, in any case, is irrelevant) but is a disservice to the students over whom you govern. The EO is a temporary measure intended to allow a new administration to get its hands around a complex issue while protecting Americans while that process is ongoing: a 30-day hiatus in the issuance of immigrant and non-immigrant visas and 120 days for refugees. The 7 named countries account for only about 8% of the foreign Muslim population. During the hiatus humanitarian exceptions are in place on a case-by-case basis. Even a person already possessing a green card who returns to one of the 7 dysfunctional and terrorist-controlled nations should be required to undergo thorough re-vetting upon an attempt to re-enter the US. The “chaos” so roundly reported in the mainstream media involved about 100 passengers who were already in transit when the EO went into effect. The EO is a reasonable exercise of presidential authority to protect American citizens. I would be proud of Lafayette if your announcement were to the effect that you were convening a balanced conversation about the EO. Instead, I am ashamed that Lafayette merely joins the chorus of the uninformed (did you bother to read the EO or merely drink the Kool Aid of the MSM?) or, worse, knows the facts but puts them aside for political sport.

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