President Knapp Signs Joint Letter Affirming Support for Immigrant Students

The letter from higher education associations was signed by 600 college and university presidents.

February 2, 2017

Professors Gate

George Washington President Steven Knapp affirmed his commitment to educating students of all backgrounds this week in light of travel restrictions President Donald Trump placed on immigrants and refugees entering the United States.

Dr. Knapp was among 600 college and university presidents who signed the letter from Washington higher education associations. The letter was drafted on behalf of more than 45 higher education associations and was sent by the American Council on Education.

Dr. Knapp released a statement earlier this week saying students from around the world are a vital part of life at GW. He shared his concerns about the president’s executive order and the confusion it created.

“Whatever its intent may be, the presidential executive order banning citizens of seven countries from entering the United States directly threatens the well-being of students as well as of faculty and staff members who come from the affected countries,” he said.

The GW International Services Office, the Office of General Counsel and the External Relations division have been working to understand exactly how the executive order will affect students, faculty and staff and for how long. Much is still unknown.

A group of GW faculty also is circulating a petition asking faculty and staff to sign a statement in support of the diverse university community.

"We, the undersigned faculty and staff, stand with all GW students and colleagues regardless of nationality, religion or immigration status,” the statement reads.

In the months since the election, Dr. Knapp has urged members of the GW community to continue to respect one another’s differences, maintain civility and celebrate diversity. He reiterated that request this week.

“Now I am asking also that we offer our support and friendship to our international students, faculty members and staff who are rightly concerned about their and their families’ future in a nation that, in its proudest moments, has opened its doors to the hopes and aspirations of all people,” Dr. Knapp said.