Penn sent out an email on Sunday, advising students from the seven Muslim-majority countries temporarily barred from entering the United States by President Donald Trump’s recent executive order to defer travel.
The federal policy, signed on Friday by Trump, a 1968 Wharton graduate, suspends immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
The email, which was signed by four high-level administrators, went on to say the University is “working with outside counsel to clarify the implications for nationals from these countries who are currently at Penn and for those who might be planning to travel to or attend Penn.”
Until “there is some clarification of the situation,” Penn advised students from the affected countries, or those planning to visit or attend Penn, to delay any travel plans. On Saturday, a federal judge in Brooklyn, N.Y. issued a temporary emergency ruling on Saturday blocking the deportation of travelers who have already arrived in the country.
“Penn remains fully committed to these valued members of our community, and to engaging globally to bring the best scholars and students from around the world to our campus,” the University statement continued. “At the same time, we will be working to express our concerns about the effects of recent policy actions on our community, as well as our view that rapid changes in immigration policy create uncertainty for those who are eager to come to the United States to learn and to participate in research and the global exchange of knowledge.”
On Sunday at 5:30 p.m., the University sent out another email, this time with a statement from the Association of American Universities.
“We recognize the importance of a strong visa process to our nation’s security,” the statement read. “However, the administration’s new order barring the entry or return of individuals from certain countries is already causing damage and should end as quickly as possible.”
Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign and since Trump’s victory in November, Penn President Amy Gutmann has repeatedly declined any requests to acknowledge Trump by name or to clarify his relationship with the University.
“Our relationship with him is no different than it would be with any other graduate,” University spokesperson Stephen MacCarthy said last week in a statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian’s Opinion Board.
In January 2016, Gutmann did indirectly criticize his promise a month earlier to block Muslim immigrants from entering the U.S. in a meeting with The Daily Pennsylvanian editorial staff.
“Discrimination against Muslims in our society is absolutely unacceptable. It is a form of invidious discrimination. It is, I believe, a disgrace for our society to engage in discrimination on the basis of religion or race,” Gutmann said at the meeting. “In this case, it’s religion and some people see it as called for, but not only is it not called for and disgraceful, but it’s also unconstitutional.”
The University was not immediately available for comment on Sunday morning.