Vidar L. Haanes, chairman of the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions board, opposes the US suspension of immigration from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia.
Vidar L. Haanes, chairman of the Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions board, opposes the US suspension of immigration from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia.

Norwegian academia opposes Trump's immigration order

The Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions (UHR) is concerned by the consequences of US president Trump’s suspension of immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Publisert Oppdatert

The Norwegian Association of Higher Education Institutions (UHR) says in a statement today that they oppose the executive order from president of the USA, Donald J. Trump, and that they want him to recall or reformulate it to avoid the threat to the free flow of people and knowledge.

Vidar L. Haanes, chairman of the UHR board says to Khrono that he is concerned by the consequences for scholars and students:

— The main reason for UHR opposing the executive order is that we see the consequences for students and scholars. If president Trump’s executive order is followed up, then scholars and students are not able to return to their universities.

The UHR states their opposition in a statement by supporting a press release from the European University Association. They also support an ongoing petition: «Academics Against Immigration Executive Order», that deems the executive order to be discriminatory, detrimental to the national interests of the United States, and that it imposes undue burden on members of American community.

Consequences for scholars and students

If president Trump's executive order is followed up, then scholars and students are not able to return to their
universities.

Vidar L. Haanes

A major knowledge economy like that of the US cannot allow itself to be closed off. It is not only ethically wrong, it is also a major obstacle to the vital flow of global talent.

Lesley Wilson

The executive order gives a 90-day suspension of visas and other immigration benefits to all nationals of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia.

— Does the UHR demand anything from the Norwegian government on this issue?

— Not directly in the statement, but we do register that the Norwegian government is considering how to approach this, Haanes says, adding:

— Our input is however implied in such a strong statement.

Haanes says that UHR will be meeting with the US embassy in Norway, and urges other sector leaders to make their views clear to the embassy as well:

— It is a matter of applying pressure on the American embassy to express our views.

Not only ethically wrong

UHR calls, through the statement, and in accordance with the European University Association (EUA), on US President Trump to recall the executive order and acknowledge the overall importance of global mobility, free flow of knowledge and openness for society as a whole.

The EUA says in their statement that the order is potentially damaging to the free flow of people and ideas «that is paramount in higher education and research».

— While President Trump’s security concerns may be justified, this is playing politics with the world’s knowledge pool and with academics’ and students’ lives, said Lesley Wilson, EUA Secretary General in the statement, continuing:

— A major knowledge economy like that of the US cannot allow itself to be closed off. It is not only ethically wrong, it is also a major obstacle to the vital flow of global talent. Universities are already seeing the consequences for their staff and students, but this is and will be extremely problematic in many sectors.

Supported by 50 Nobel Laureates

The petition the UHR supports, «Academics Against Immigration Executive Order», states that the executive order unfairly targets a large group of immigrants and non-immigrants on the basis of their countries of origin, all of them nations with a majority Muslim population.

It continues to say that it significantly damages American leadership in higher education and research, and exemplifies that more than 3000 students have received PhDs from American universities in the past 3 years, from Iran alone.

The petition Tuesday afternoon had signatures from 50 Nobel Laureates, 14,800 U.S. faculty members and 18,000 academic supporters.

 

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