Western’s president Amit Chakma released a statement in reaction to U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order that came out Friday. The order prevents individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States for 90 days and an indefinite ban on Syrian refugees.
In the statement, Chakma spoke positively of the impact refugees and immigrants have on Western.
“They [refugees and immigrants] strengthen our campus community, bringing new knowledge, ideas, perspectives, talent and skills for the benefit of all Canadians,” Chakma said in the statement.
The statement declared that the executive order issued by President Trump is having a real, immediate and profound impact on Canadian campuses and that Western supports its colleagues and institutions in their calls to the American government to reverse the executive order.
Western will also be striking a committee in response to the order.
"Western’s Vice-Provost & Associate Vice-President International is striking a committee to monitor the situation and will provide updates on new developments that directly affect our campus community."
Additionally, the University of Western Ontario Faculty Association (UWOFA) released a statement outlining their frustrations with the executive order.
"This ban creates barriers that run counter to academic freedom and the pursuit of intellectual inquiry, the very tenets of our international community of scholars," said UWOFA president Ann Bigelow in the statement. "We are alarmed about the unpredictable and far-reaching implications this ban will have."
Prior to Western’s statements, Universities Canada released a statement responding to the travel ban, leading to responses from many of Western’s professors and executives.
“Canadian universities are deeply concerned about a new executive order issued in the United States” reads the statement.
The statement issued by Universities Canada was well-received from Western provost and vice-president Janice Deakin, who took to Twitter to announce her support.
Mark Workentin, a Western chemistry professor, also voiced his opinion on Universities Canada’s article over Twitter. Workentin argued that Universities Canada should have taken a tougher stance.
“The very best universities are those whose community includes members from across disciplines, cultures, experiences: the world!” said Workentin in an email statement to The Gazette.
He further stated that when anyone attempts to establish barriers around the sense of community, organizations should come out with a stronger statement.
Deakin and Chakma were contacted but unable to provide further comment at time of publication.