A Statement from the Department of Political Science and
American Studies Program at Wilfrid Laurier University
As a Department that values social equality and justice for all, and whose strength is built upon recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusivity within our community, we support the statement made by Wilfrid Laurier University, condemning the United States Government’s recent executive orders. These executive orders close our communities to others whether by building walls, restricting travel, preventing people from seeking the right to asylum; they reduce protections to quality of life in terms of healthcare and a clean environment; and they contribute to racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, misogyny or homophobia.
Last week’s Executive Order on Immigration blocks the entry of those born in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen - all Muslim-majority countries, suspending all refugee admissions for 120 days, and indefinitely banning Syrian refugees. These actions violate the Geneva Convention and represent a deep injustice to all those affected, including our colleagues - students, staff and faculty - who may have planned to cross the border for academic or personal reasons.
The Executive Order also further emboldens Islamophobic and right-wing nationalist forces in the US, Canada and across the world, as we have seen with the recent killings of Muslims at prayer in the Quebec City Mosque. We offer our condolences to family and friends directly affected by the killings and to our Muslim students, colleagues and fellow citizens who may now feel themselves more vulnerable and fearful as a result of such horrific actions.
We also support academics in the US and elsewhere and their right to protest, and in light of restrictions on travel and safety for many of our colleagues and students urge our professional associations to consider moving planned conferences from the US, where possible. Where not possible, such associations should both strongly condemn the Executive Order on Immigration and make appropriate arrangements to accommodate those who cannot - or will not under the circumstances - attend.
Dr. Debora VanNijnatten, Chair, and on behalf of the Department of Political Science and North American Studies Program