Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro today criticized President Trump’s ban on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries, saying “there is no legitimate basis for depriving students and scholars from those countries who have already obtained visas from entering the United States to study and conduct research.”

Schapiro said Northwestern would provide support for international students on campus — and advised ones from the affected countries now on campus not to travel abroad.

“Knowledge knows no borders,” Schapiro added, “and we all benefit greatly from the presence of the talented international students, faculty and staff who are members of the Northwestern community.”

Here’s the full text of Schapiro’s statement

Dear Members of the Northwestern Community:

The executive order restricting travel to the United States by residents of seven countries issued late last week by President Trump raises serious concerns for Northwestern University and the entire academic community. The order already is being challenged in court, so it is not clear what the immediate impact will be. However, we believe strongly that there is no legitimate basis for depriving students and scholars from those countries who have already obtained visas from entering the United States to study and conduct research at Northwestern or elsewhere.

As I have said before, Northwestern is committed to being a welcoming and inclusive community for all, regardless of their beliefs. I assure you that we will take the necessary actions to protect our students, faculty and staff. In particular, we will provide support for the international students who are here. The International Office and The Graduate School will continue to act as resources for international students and scholars. For now, we advise students who are from the affected countries not to travel abroad. Students with questions about the executive order or related issues should contact the International Office at or 847.491.5613 or The Graduate School at or 847.491.5070.

Knowledge knows no borders, and we all benefit greatly from the presence of the talented international students, faculty and staff who are members of the Northwestern community. I sincerely hope that the Administration quickly makes clear that this country still welcomes scholars and students from around the world, just as Northwestern University does, and will continue to do so.

We are following events closely and working with the Association of American Universities and other academic organizations to monitor the situation and make clear to the Administration our position on these issues. We anticipate that there will be additional developments in the near future and we will continue to update you as more details become available.

Morton Schapiro
President and Professor

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Vetting

    While students pay dearly to obtain an education at NU and other universities and are here to conduct their business..  Would you not consider the  individuals who were trained to fly airplanes ultimately flew them into the twin towers.  They also paid dearly for their eduction in Florida without question. 

    1. Vetting

      This is not a ban on Muslims. It is an order – of 90 days to strengthen the vetting process for people from the SAME countries named by former President Obama in 2011 when he implemented a ban on people coming into this country. And there was no outcry, no public demonstrations, no riots then. Why now? Out of more than 320,000 air passengers on over the weekend, only 109 people were affected. Why the outcry? The people of the US are being manipulated in order to overturn the results of the November elections. Take a breath, people.

      1. We should all be concerned

        1. The Obama administration did not ban any refugees in 2011 or any other time. They had to slow, not stop, the intake of Iraqi refugees for 6 months, due to a specific security issue.

        2. The 109 you refer to were people who had the legal right to be here, green card and visa holders, that were held unjustly. 4 Federal court judges agreed. All citizens should be concerned by these developements. Some excersised their right to show that concern via protest. In addtion according the UN, 20,000 refugess were affected by this ban. (google it). That’s 20,000 people, men, women and children, fleeing untold horrors. And we, the great land of liberty, turned our back on them.

      2. You have no idea what you are talking about

        Iwalsh, way to retweet Trump’s 140 character alternative fact.  Obama did not implement a 90 day total ban of citizens entering the U.S. from those seven countries.  Obama did not indefinitely ban Syrian refugees.  Obama did not implement a 120 day ban on refugees entering from the other six countries listed.  Obama did not give priority entry to Christians.  You are living in an alternative fact world. 

    2. Planes
      Funny you mention that, because you seem to be forgetting that most of the 9/11 terrorists came from Saudi Arabia, a country that is not on the “vetting” list.

    3. There is nothing to debate
      There is nothing to debate about this executive order. It is illegal, and against the principals that our country was founded upon. Anyone trying to say this is for “national security” is full of it and they are actually just old school racists. Yes racists- and you have no place here. Don’t be afraid to speak up, you have a president who supports your racist views- but history has proven that people who like you who are filled with hate and fear will be held accountable for your beliefs and actions. This country is already mobilizing and standing up for what we believe in – we are the majority – and this administration will face resistance anytime they try to push executive orders on us that are racist and illegal.

      1. You only have so much ammo—use it wisely
        I totally agree Trump’s Executive Order is beyond the pale—it reminds me of Woody Allen’s ‘Bananas.’
        But NU students—and many other groups who protest—have such a history of protesting everything at the drop of a hat, that many on the borderline of disagreeing with the order will write their protest off as just another protest. Even those strongly against the order will dismiss NU’s protest as “that is just what they do.” Of course those who support Trump in this action will write off the student protest anyway.

  2. Were I still a student at NU,

    Were I still a student at NU, I would feel seriously safe.  I hope affected students can feel that way, too.

  3. Wrong. There is legitimate concern

    In 1979, Democrat President Jimmy Carter banned Iranians from entering the USA.

    James Comey, head of the FBI, testified before Congress that it is not possible to properly vet Syrian refugees.

    ISIS has said it would send militants posing as refugees to Europe and the USA. This has been confirmed by the German spy agency.

    The seven Muslim-majority countries targeted in President Trump’s executive order on immigration were initially identified as “countries of concern” under the Obama administration.

    The US. State Department had already issued a travel warning to the seven nations before President Trump issued the temporary immigration ban.

    Take a deep breath. Relax people.

    If you think the temporary three month immigration ban is inconvenient for citizens of the seven listed nations then consider the hundreds of Europeans and Americans that were inconvenienced when they were killed at the hands of terrorists in the past three years.

    Isn’t it better to err on the side of caution?

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