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January 29, 2017

On Friday, January 27th, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order banning students, visitors and green-card-holding legal permanent United States residents from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — and refugees from around the world — from  entering the United States.  These individuals are our neighbors, classmates, professors and friends.  We have heard from students that they are worried about their ability to travel home and their ability to have family visit them in the U.S. The travel ban effectively makes these students detainees within the U.S. Their presence in the University of California mirrors our country’s history.  We are a country of immigrants, refugees, the formerly enslaved, and native peoples.  It is these disparate narratives that strengthen the fabric of our country and remind us that the path of blanket exclusion and discrimination leads only to the aggrandizing of hate and the betrayal of our nation’s values. Our laws have, since the founding of the U.S., been built on the principle of non-discrimination for people based on religious faith. Whatever the intent of this order, its impact is being felt almost exclusively by Muslim people. We must condemn it.

People from these groups materially contribute to the intellectual rigor expected of students across the ten campuses of the University of California.  Their research has and will continue to shape the world.  Their presence has and will continue to push us to live our collective values of inclusion, justice, equality and fight for the fundamental freedoms that are encoded in our founding documents.  The motto of the University of California is fiat lux; let there be light! And thus we join with others across the country and the world in calling on the President to remember the words inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty: ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door.’ We, the Student Body Presidents from throughout the University of California, will fight against any attempt to dim the light of freedom and hope the United States has extended to so many before.  

Respectfully,

Tracy La, Undergraduate Chair of the UC Council of Presidents and President of the Associated Students of UC Irvine

Michael Skiles, Graduate Chair of the UC Council of Presidents and President of the Graduate Students Association of UCLA

Alex T. Lee, President of the Associated Students of UC Davis

Austin Hechler, President of the Associated Students of UC Santa Barbara

Jess Whatcott, President of the Graduate Student Association of UC Santa Cruz

Kena Hazelwood-Carter, President of the UC Berkeley Graduate Assembly

Shawn Ragan, President of the Graduate Student Association of UC Riverside

Arturo Gómez, Interim Acting President of the Associated Students of UC Riverside

David McIntosh, President of the Graduate Students Association of UC Santa Barbara

Carlos A. Ruvalcaba, Chair of the Graduate Student Association of UC Davis

Danny Siegel, President of the Undergraduate Student Association Council of UCLA

Katelyn Fitzgerald, President of the Associated Students of UC Merced

Daniel Juarez, President of the Associated Students of UC San Diego

William Morrow, President of the Associated Students of University of California at UC Berkeley

Tatiana Zavodny, President of the Graduate Student Association

Jeffrey “Tias”  Webster,  President of the Student Union, University of California at Santa Cruz

Micah Ahazie, President of the Graduate and Professional Student Association at UC San Francisco

Michelle Chan, President of the Associated Graduate Students of UC Irvine