To the University of Maryland School of Public Health community,
On January 27, 2017, an abrupt change to U.S. immigration policy via Executive Order signed by President Trump caused significant confusion, chaos and dashed hopes for many immigrants and refugees and the communities that support them. This includes some of our students, faculty and staff.
Many of us are concerned about this temporary ban placed on travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries to the United States and the potential negative impact of this ban on our university community. We have many international students and researchers on visas and students and faculty from immigrant families who may either be personally impacted, or may be close to others who will be negatively affected. A message from President Loh provides advice and resources from the university's Office of International Student and Scholar Services to address some questions and concerns.
As a first generation American born to Ukrainian parents who found refuge in the United States after World War II, the immigrant and refugee experience is part of my DNA. I am deeply concerned about the reversal of the decades-long policy of the United States to provide a safe haven for people suffering persecution in their home countries and to offer hope to immigrants seeking a better life for their families. We are a country of immigrants and must embrace the value that immigrants add to our communities, our universities and our nation.
We must advocate for humane and sensible immigration policy that will balance the need to rout out terrorism with the need to welcome aspiring immigrants who contribute so much to our society and to comfort and care for a portion of the world’s many refugees suffering from dire humanitarian and public health crises. If we succumb to fear-filled rhetoric, we all lose, but the most vulnerable among us will suffer most.
As the dean of the School of Public Health, I want to assure our students who are affected by this ban that the University of Maryland supports you and your families and will be engaged in understanding what this policy means to our continued educational and research mission.
In the School of Public Health, we value people of all races and ethnicities, genders, religions and nationalities and will continue to provide an educational environment that supports diversity and inclusion. This is a critical moment in our country’s history, and we have an opportunity to make a difference through our shared commitment to the values of public health, which urge us to improve health for all populations in the broadest sense of the term.
I assure you that you have my unwavering support and belief that the University of Maryland benefits from the diversity of our community.
As President Loh expressed, “It is in America’s best interest that we continue to welcome talented individuals of all nations to study, teach, and do research here and retain America’s global leadership in higher education.”
Boris D. Lushniak
Dean and Professor