A Letter From the Editors on the Executive Order on Immigration

In editing the AMS Graduate Student Blog, we hope to provide a platform for discussion about issues that affect and are important to the lives of graduate students. At times, this has meant publishing pieces that grapple with complicated and complex topics including sexism, diversity, and discrimination, both in academia and in our communities at large.

That said, until now we have never taken a specific political stance on an issue, nor called for our audience to do the same. However, in light of President Trump’s recent executive order placing immigration and travel restrictions on individuals from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia, we feel that there are certain issues that are too important not to take a vocal and principled stand against.

We, the editorial board of the AMS Graduate Student Blog, condemn—in the strongest possible terms—these actions by President Trump, and we ask that he repeal this executive order as soon as possible. Moreover, we implore our readers, our fellow graduate students, and the entire mathematical community to stand up with us and other protesters around the world in condemning the president’s actions and demanding change.

Given the somewhat unprecedented nature of this statement, we owe it to our readers to provide some context surrounding the thought process that went into its making. (For background about the order we recommend this video by Vox or this article by NPR.)

First, as noted in a recent statement by AMS Board of Trustees, this executive order threatens to “do irreparable damage to the mathematical enterprise of the United States” by choking the flow mathematical ideas from around the world. Having a shared stake in the success of this enterprise, we are concerned by policies that threaten it. The flourishing of any mathematical or academic community is contingent on the free exchange of ideas and researchers from around the globe. Many leading scientists, professors, and students in the United States are either from the countries included in the above list or have family members living there; we are made poorer, not safer, by their exclusion. In making this statement we stand up for our mathematical community.

Moreover, this executive order poses more than just an abstract threat; it has a human cost, one that will be felt by our friends and our colleagues. Already some in our community have been faced with difficult questions: Can I travel to this conference? To this job interview? To visit my friends? My loved ones? Will I be able to get home? The fact that this executive order puts members of our community in these positions, based solely on their national origin, is something we find unacceptable. In making this statement we stand up for and with our friends and our colleagues whose lives are being negatively affected.

Finally, we recognize that this issue goes beyond the small corner in which our blog is situated. President Trump’s executive order—placed indiscriminately and in many cases falling on those fleeing war and persecution—will negatively affect the lives millions of people around the world, both by promoting intolerance and bigotry and turning away those in need. By targeting individuals based on their national origin, used as a proxy for religion, this order is incongruent with our commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive community, country, and world. In making this statement we stand up for our shared values of diversity, inclusion, and basic human rights.

For these reasons, we are compelled to join the chorus of protests and publicly express our condemnation and outrage at President Trump’s recent actions. For those looking to stand up and become involved on this issue, here are a few resources:

Signed with Solidarity,

AMS Grad Blog Editorial Board

  • Sarah Salmon, Editor-in-Chief
    University of Colorado, Boulder
  • DJ Bruce, Managing Editor
    University of Wisconsin
  • Irving Dai, Managing Editor
    Princeton University

About Juliettte Bruce

I am a fourth year graduate student at the University of Wisconsin. My interests lie on the algebraic side of things. In particular, I work somewhere in the intersection of algebraic geometry and commutative algebra.
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