Bowdoin College President Clayton Rose joined leaders of nearly 600 colleges and universities in expressing concerns to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly about President Trump’s Executive Order that blocks citizens of seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the US for 90 days and suspends all refugee admissions into the country for 120 days. In a letter delivered to Kelly Friday afternoon, Rose and the other higher education leaders noted that colleges and universities “have been partners with the Department of Homeland Security in protecting our country since the agency’s creation.” “We are confident that our nation can craft policies that secure us from those who wish to harm us, while welcoming those who seek to study, conduct research and scholarship, and contribute their knowledge and talents to our country,” the letter stated.
The letter to Kelly follows a separate letter signed by Rose and forty-seven other American college and university presidents that was delivered to the White House on Thursday. The letter urges President Donald Trump 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.”
Earlier in the week, Rose spoke out about the Executive Order on immigration in a message to students, faculty, and staff at Bowdoin. Writing on Monday, Rose noted: “There are many aspects of this action that are deeply troubling, including the challenge to fundamental values of our nation and the very real possibility that American higher education will be damaged as great students and scholars are barred from the country and educations are sidelined or worse.” He went on to say that the College will “safeguard privacy and confidentiality, including immigration status, for members of [the Bowdoin] community.”