The Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate released a statement Tuesday morning condemning President Donald Trump’s recent executive order and reaffirming its commitment to “knowledge as a public good” and a campus free from discrimination.
The email, which was sent to all FAS faculty at 9 a.m., was approved Monday by a unanimous Senate vote in which 19 out of the 22-member body participated. It calls Trump’s executive order, which temporarily bans citizens and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S., a “threat to our shared educational mission and offensive to a free and open society.” The statement conveys its support for the University’s leadership in speaking out against the ban in solidarity with members of the Yale and New Haven communities.
“As educators and scholars, we also affirm our commitment to the dissemination of knowledge as a public good and to a campus free from xenophobia and all forms of discrimination and harassment,” the statement reads. “We are resolved to counter divisive myth-making, whether in the form of bigotry directed at vulnerable groups, the disavowal of scientific knowledge or the silencing of humanistic and social-scientific inquiry.”
The statement adds that as the representative faculty body in the FAS, the Senate is devoted to strengthening bonds of “international collaboration and cross-cultural exchange.” While it is aware of the importance of national security, the Senate questioned the effectiveness of the executive order and rejected its “tacit Islamophobia.”
Senate chair and professor of classics Emily Greenwood said the group is working to respond in various ways to faculty concerns about the current political climate, particularly about restrictions on immigration and growing xenophobia, and about the “rise of pseudo-populist anti-intellectualism.”
“I think it’s critical that faculty always speak up to defend the core mission of the University, and the Senate wanted to say very clearly that international students, faculty, researchers, and staff are hugely important – both to Yale and to the vibrancy of our society more broadly,” said Senate member and history professor Bill Rankin. “We also want to make it clear that the FAS faculty stand with Yale students, the administration, and the wider community. This is not about partisanship; this is about faculty addressing the issues they know best: education, research, and the importance of knowledge and expertise in public debate.”
In addition to Tuesday’s statement, Greenwood told the News the Senate will also be holding a panel on the role of the University and academic expertise in the current political climate, which will take place at its monthly meeting on Feb. 16. The panel will feature faculty members including history professor Beverly Gage ’94, economics professor Bill Nordhaus ’63 GRD ’73, Geology and Geophysics professor Trude Storelvmo and African American Studies professor Vesla Weaver.