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The Dartmouth
April 18, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Hanlon, 47 other college and university presidents, send Trump letter on executive order

College President Phil Hanlon and 47 other college and university presidents sent President Donald Trump a letter on Thursday asking 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.”

Initially drafted by Princeton University president Christopher Eisgruber and University of Pennsylvania president Amy Gutmann, the letter states that the executive order “unfairly targets seven predominantly Muslim countries in a manner inconsistent with America’s best principles and greatest traditions.” The presidents of all eight Ivy League schools, along with 40 other leaders of higher education institutions, signed the letter.

On Jan. 27, Trump signed an executive order barring citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days. The order also prevented all refugee immigration for 120 days and indefinitely prohibited the entry of Syrian refugees. On Jan. 29, Hanlon and Provost Carolyn Dever sent a campus-wide email advising students affected by the seven-nation ban to avoid all international travel. The email also expressed support for a statement released by the Association of American Universities calling for the order’s repeal.

The full text of the letter can be found below. The full PDF can be found here.

February 2, 2017

President Donald J. Trump
The White House
United States of America

Dear President Trump:

We write as presidents of leading American colleges and universities to urge you 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 order threatens both American higher education and the defining principles of our country.

The order specifically prevents talented, law-abiding students and scholars from the affected regions from reaching our campuses. 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. Many who have returned to their own countries have taken with them the values that are the lifeblood of our democracy. America’s educational, scientific, economic, and artistic leadership depends upon our continued ability to attract the extraordinary people who for many generations have come to this country in search of freedom and a better life.

This action unfairly targets seven predominantly Muslim countries in a manner inconsistent with America’s best principles and greatest traditions. We welcome outstanding Muslim students and scholars from the United States and abroad, including the many who come from the seven affected countries. Their vibrant contributions to our institutions and our country exemplify the value of the religious diversity that has been a hallmark of American freedom since this country’s founding. The American dream depends on continued fidelity to that value.

We recognize and respect the need to protect America’s security. The vetting procedures already in place are rigorous. Improvements to them should be based on evidence, calibrated to real risks, and consistent with constitutional principle.

Throughout its history America has been a land of opportunity and a beacon of freedom in the world. It has attracted talented people to our shores and inspired people around the globe. This executive order is dimming the lamp of liberty and staining the country’s reputation. We respectfully urge you to rectify the damage done by this order.


Robert L. Barchi, President, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Kimberly W. Benston, President, Haverford College; Joanne Berger-Sweeney, President, Trinity College; George Blumenthal, Chancellor, University of California, Santa Cruz; Lee C. Bollinger, President, Columbia University; Richard H. Brodhead, President, Duke University;

Robert A. Brown, President, Boston University; Kimberly Wright Cassidy, President, Bryn Mawr College; Ronald J. Daniels, President, Johns Hopkins University; John J. DeGioia, President, Georgetown University; Nicholas B. Dirks, Chancellor, University of California, Berkeley; Christopher L. Eisgruber, President, Princeton University;

Adam F. Falk, President, Williams College; Drew Gilpin Faust, President, Harvard University; Patrick Gallagher, Chancellor, University of Pittsburgh; Howard Gillman, Chancellor, University of California, Irvine; Amy Gutmann, President, University of Pennsylvania; Andrew Hamilton, President, New York University;

Philip J. Hanlon, President, Dartmouth College; Sam Hawgood, MBBS, Chancellor, University of California, San Francisco; Ralph J. Hexter, Interim Chancellor, University of California, Davis; Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President, University of Notre Dame; Pradeep K. Khosla, Chancellor, University of California, San Diego; Marvin Krislov, President, Oberlin College;

David W. Leebron, President, Rice University; Ron Liebowitz, President, Brandeis University; Wallace D. Loh, President, University of Maryland, College Park; Anthony P. Monaco, President, Tufts University; David Oxtoby, President, Pomona College; Christina H. Paxson, President, Brown University;

Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.D., President, Franklin & Marshall College; Carol Quillen, President, Davidson College; Hunter R. Rawlings III, Interim President, Cornell University; Clayton Rose, President, Bowdoin College; Peter Salovey, President, Yale University; Michael H. Schill, President, University of Oregon;

Mark Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D., President, University of Michigan; Valerie Smith, President, Swarthmore College; Barbara R. Snyder, President, Case Western Reserve University; Debora L. Spar, President, Barnard College; Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., President, Stony Brook University; Sonya Stephens, Acting President, Mount Holyoke College;

Claire E. Sterk, President, Emory University; Marc Tessier-Lavigne, President, Stanford University; Satish K. Tripathi, President, University at Buffalo; Mark S. Wrighton, Chancellor, Washington University in St. Louis; Henry T. Yang, Chancellor, University of California, Santa Barbara; Nicholas S. Zeppos, Chancellor, Vanderbilt University.