Faculty Senate of Virginia

A number of faculty senates and councils across Virginia have discussed concerns about President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration. Collected on this page are resolutions passed by some of those faculty senates and councils.

University of Virginia Faculty Senate

The UVA Faculty Senate Executive Council sent this resolution to UVA Faculty on February 1st:

From: UVA Faculty Senate and General Faculty Council [mf9c@virginia.edu<mailto:mf9c@virginia.edu>]

Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2017 4:11 PM

Subject: Statement on Immigration Executive Order

The President’s recent executive order banning entry to the United States of citizens from seven predominately Muslim countries, as well as refugees from all countries, is a moral outrage. It threatens lives and divides families, including those of students, staff, and faculty of the University of Virginia. It also threatens the basic values of inclusiveness, equality, and respect for human dignity that we stand for as a university in the public trust. Rather than addressing legitimate security and safety concerns in a responsible and measured way, this drastically overbroad policy needlessly harms decent and talented people who have already been strictly vetted and who pose no demonstrable risk. Despite recent court orders staying parts of the order, much of it remains in effect, and it is therefore an active threat to refugees, immigrants, and Muslim-Americans, including those in our community. We condemn it unequivocally.

We condemn it not only as an offense to human decency and the Constitution, but also because it harms our ability to do our jobs. We are scientists and engineers, physicians and lawyers, historians and philosophers, and business innovators and public servants. We come from all corners of the world to this great University to learn and share knowledge. We depend in turn on communities of learning across the world to enrich our own scholarly endeavors. This discriminatory executive order imperils these relationships, even as it threatens our students and shames our nation.

We call on all faculty to contact their legislators and ask them to condemn this executive order and to urge the President to withdraw it.

As faculty we stand with our students and colleagues who might be harmed by this order, and we resolve to defend their rights and safety to the best of our lawful ability.

Faculty Senate Executive Council & General Faculty Council Executive Council

February 1, 2017

Radford University Faculty Senate

The Radford University Faculty Senate passed the following resolution on February 2, 2017

16-17.06—Radford University Faculty Senate Resolution in Response to the Presidential Executive Order Banning and Restricting Entry into the United States by Citizens of Seven Muslim-Majority Countries

Referred by: Faculty Senate Executive Council

Whereas, Radford University is enriched by the diversity of our student body, faculty, staff, and administration including our brothers and sisters from Muslim-majority countries;

Whereas, our effectiveness as a university in a 21st-century global society depends on our ability to attract the most highly qualified students, faculty, and staff from around the world;

Whereas, we have a responsibility as public intellectuals and as citizens of a pluralistic republic to speak out for tolerance and justice for all;

Whereas, the discriminatory targeting of law-abiding people from seven Muslim-majority countries contradicts our bedrock constitutional principles, including freedom of religion and the non-establishment clause;

Whereas, waves of immigrants and refugees fleeing conditions of intolerable violence and repression have settled in America, embraced it as their home, and built it into the country we enjoy today;

Whereas, our country has been culturally enriched, our sciences and industries advanced, our universities enhanced, and our community life deepened by the refugees and immigrants who have made America their home;

Whereas, our own Statue of Liberty represents the hope of freedom for immigrants and refugees coming to this country from around the world;

Whereas, the executive order in question has already caused intense anxiety for our Muslim students and faculty as well as students and faculty of immigrant families;

Be it, therefore, resolved: that the Radford University Faculty Senate calls upon the Radford community to stand in solidarity with all peaceful citizens of the world who wish to freely visit, settle and work in this country without regard to race, religion, ethnicity, or country of origin;

Be it further resolved: that we call upon our President and all government officials to pursue policies that protect national security while not discriminating against particular groups or impeding the ability of American universities to engage in our educational and research missions as effectively as possible by drawing upon the talents of students and faculty from throughout the world.

Passed by Radford University Faculty Senate February 2, 2017

James Madison University Faculty Senate

The JMU Faculty Senate passed the following resolution on February 23, 2017:



James Madison University is a community that values tolerance, diversity, inclusiveness, and respect for human dignity, regardless of one’s place of origin. When members of our community are harmed, threatened, frightened, or misled, it affects us all. With this in mind, the Faculty Senate of James Madison University is considerably concerned by the Immigration Executive Order of January 27, 2017. This is the case for several reasons:

  • The Executive Order is unjustly discriminatory. It is neither fair nor rational to make an implied judgment about the trustworthiness of millions of persons based on fears grounded in the potential actions of a miniscule subset of those persons. We would not teach such practices to our students, and we do not endorse them here.
  • The Executive Order harms innocent people. Execution of the Executive Order inevitably involves harming innocent people by dividing families, threatening educational and work opportunities, and preventing reasonable granting of asylum.
  • The Executive Order is counterproductive. Although we certainly do not deny that the leadership of the country should take reasonable measures to secure the safety of citizens and residents, the abrupt and uncompromising nature of the Executive Order contributes to a climate of fear, anxiety and confrontation, and in so doing establishes social conditions that are, ironically, likely to prompt extremist action of the very sort the Executive Order was designed to forestall.
  • The Executive Order harms our work in higher education. As engaged citizens, scholars, and teachers, we and our students come from all corners of the world to learn and share knowledge. We depend in turn on communities of learning across the world to enrich our own scholarly work. This Executive Order imperils these relationships by making international cooperation more difficult in certain respects.[2]
  • The Executive Order goes against our values. Respectful and productive national and global civic engagement of the sort that invigorates our pluralistic democracy, and that we wish to model to our students, is impeded by governmental action that perpetuates broad-brush stereotypes, intensifies unfair discrimination, inhibits open-mindedness, and undermines sympathetic regard for people from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds.

The Faculty Senate of James Madison University expresses its commitment to human rights and the values of diversity, mutual respect, fairness, and inclusiveness. We endorse President Jonathan Alger’s statement that “Diversity of thought, opinion, experience and culture adds tremendous value to the university because our differences enlighten us and bind us together. Regardless of one’s country of origin, all are welcome at James Madison University.”

As faculty we stand with our students and colleagues who might be unfairly harmed, threatened, or frightened by this Order or similar Executive Orders, and we resolve to defend their rights and safety to the best of our lawful ability.[3]

[1] Specifically: Executive Order: Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States

[2] Adapted from the Statement on Immigration Executive Order passed by the University of Virginia Faculty Senate Executive Council & General Faculty Council Executive Council (February 1, 2017)

[3] Ibid.