Authored By Emily Jashinsky
January 30, 2017
University Officials Email Students to Condemn President Trump’s Executive Order
Emails obtained by Young America’s Foundation show the leaders of two universities using school resources to condemn President Donald Trump’s recent executive order regarding refugees from seven countries.
University of Wisconsin- La Crosse (UWL) Chancellor Joe Gow sent an email to all students, faculty, staff, and retirees registering UWL leadership’s “shock and sadness” over the policy. Gow told students that it is “very troubling to see the leader of our country” discriminating against refugees “based on a person’s religion or country of origin.”
The email, estimated to be sent to more than 10,000 people, was signed by Gow as well as five other university officials.
The University of Wisconsin- La Crosse is a public school.
In a statement issued Monday afternoon, Wisconsin state senator Duey Stroebel reacted, commenting, “Multiple constituents have relayed to me an email sent from UW- La Crosse Chancellor Joe Gow and other senior administration staff regarding recent immigration policy executive orders. The email condemns our President for the policy he believes will keep Americans safe. Chancellor Gow’s email makes no reference that these seven countries either sponsor terrorism or harbor terrorist training facilities.
At the end of the day, I support broadening the education possibilities for citizens from around the world at University of Wisconsin System Schools regardless of country of origin or religious beliefs. Nonetheless, senior administration staff should not take public opinions on policy with the intent to influence the view of students. After all, a plurality of Wisconsinites voted for the current administration.”
Similarly, on Monday morning Santa Clara University (SCU) President Michael E. Engh sent an email addressed to faculty, staff, and students condemning President Trump’s decision, invoking the school’s Catholic mission to slam the policy as “inhuman, immoral, and the opposite of what America and people of good will stand for.”
In the email Engh argued, “As a Jesuit, Catholic University, Santa Clara has a longstanding commitment to educating immigrants and supporting the most vulnerable in society. One of the highest ideals of Catholic social teaching is to welcome the stranger and to treat others with compassion and solidarity.”
The email continued to say, “This executive order lies in sharp contrast to our mission to care for the most marginalized among us, and to cultivate the cross-cultural understanding that is necessary to address the tremendous problems facing our divided world. The actions of the White House have caused fear and anxiety among many of our international students, and we are committed to caring for them so they may continue their studies and pursue their dreams.”
In a statement to Young America’s Foundation, SCU student Chad Calnon wrote, “I am deeply saddened by my university’s response to President Trump’s executive action. Not only does this unnecessary message target students in support of the president’s policies, but it also displays the inherent biases in educational institutions across America. College campuses throughout the country need to be held accountable for objectivity and tolerance; this message strays away from both of those ideals.”
University officials using school resources to undermine conservative leaders and promote liberalism is nothing new, but should be expected to escalate in coming months.