Following the aftermath of Donald Trump’s executive order barring immigration from seven countries, Interim President Hunter Rawlings issued a statement to the Cornell community, calling the order “deeply troubling” and “fundamentally antithetical to Cornell University’s principles.”
In Cornell’s alignment with its founding principle of “any person any student,” Rawlings emphasized the University’s commitment to creating a “diverse and global university,” noting that more than 20 percent of Cornell students come from outside the U.S.
“Cornell will not compromise its admissions and hiring standards of excellence and will continue to solicit, accept and process applications from international students from around the world, including from the impacted countries,” Rawlings said.
As a response to the uncertainty surrounding the executive order, Rawlings ensured that the University will maintain commitments regarding federal immigration policy made in a December statement in response to a campus petition.
These commitments include free legal assistance provided to students by the Law School as well as legal representation for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals undergraduate and graduate students.
Rawlings also maintained that the Cornell University Police Department will not seek immigration status information on students, as “it is neither the university’s practice nor expectation to function as an agent of the federal government regarding enforcement of federal immigration laws.”
Rawlings noted the Association of American Universities statement published Saturday saying that the order is “causing damage and should end as quickly as possible.”
“We also urge the Administration, as soon as possible, to make clear to the world that the United States continues to welcome the most talented individuals from all countries to study, teach and carry out research and scholarship at our universities,” AAU’s statement read.
Rawlings’ message to the Cornell community comes in light of other universities such as the University of Michigan and Harvard University, issuing similar statements to their students.
In its statement, the University of Michigan explicitly stated that while the university complies with federal requirements in its international programs, it will continue to maintain the privacy of its students and will not reveal sensitive information such as immigration status.
The statement additionally warned students from other countries to be cautious in making travel plans outside the country.
“During this challenging and uncertain time, please take care of yourself and continue to focus on the positive reasons you came to UM. We are glad that you are here,” University of Michigan’s statement read.