Carnegie Mellon takes stand against Trump's immigrant ban

Credit: Isabelle Vincent/ Credit: Isabelle Vincent/

Carnegie Mellon University was one of several prestigious research universities to join an amicus brief opposing the executive order on immigration implemented by President Donald Trump. This brief was created in the U.S. District Court in New York on Monday, Feb. 13.

In addition to Carnegie Mellon, the brief was signed by Brown University, University of Chicago, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Duke University, Emory University, Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northwestern University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Stanford University, Vanderbilt University, and Yale University.

The brief states that “international students, faculty, and scholars make significant contributions to their fields of study and to campus life by bringing their unique perspectives and talents to amici’s classrooms, laboratories, and performance spaces. These individuals also contribute to the United States and the world more generally by making scientific discoveries, starting businesses, and creating works of literature and art that redound to the benefit of others far beyond amici’s campuses.” Furthermore, it states that the “Executive Order at issue here threatens amici’s continuing ability to attract these individuals and thus to meet their goals of educating tomorrow’s leaders from around the world.”

The brief explains that when the government restricts countries from sending individuals to America, it severely hinders our nations universities. Without access to the best minds of the globe, their ability to educate and train future leaders is diminished. As a consequence, the impact of significant research and innovations will be negatively affected. U.S. universities and colleges have long been a center for both industrial and academic advancement, which has led to economic growth and improvement of the lives of millions of Americans. The list of advancements at Carnegie Mellon includes: the invention of Java programming language, CAPTCHAs, and the first “thinking computer.”

As the current executive branch has not indicated that it will stop the pursuit of the immigration restrictions, this action by the institution of Carnegie Mellon shows that they stand in solidarity with the Carnegie Mellon community, and still strongly emphasize the importance of international students, faculty, and staff who are a part of what makes the university so exceptional. Having experience from all over the world enriches the university from an educational, research, and cultural perspective. The signing of this brief was an attempt at showing the support for all of the people who work to make Carnegie Mellon so influential.

In a section of the document, Carnegie Mellon described its interest in the amicus briefing, stating that the university seeks to “build on leadership in world-class education and research outside the borders of a traditional university campus; focus on continued international engagement, and deeper and broader incorporation of the full [Carnegie Mellon] experience around the world.”

Earlier, Subra Suresh, president of Carnegie Mellon University and former Director of the National Science Foundation, released a statement to the community describing his reaction to President Trump’s executive order. In his statement, he reemphasized his commitment to make Carnegie Mellon a welcoming campus, stating “we will do all that is within our power, as individuals, as an institution, and by working through national organizations such as the Association of American Universities and with federal, state, and local officials, to support our international students and scholars to the fullest extent possible.

President Suresh ended his release with some powerful words: “As president of this great university, I will do everything within my capacity to ensure that our extraordinarily talented students, staff, and faculty receive similar opportunities through the core values that underlie our university and our nation.” He also promised that there will be opportunities to learn about evolving conditions and specific university support in various areas of concern.