February 28, 2017

Faculty Senate takes action regarding ban

The impact that President Donald Trump’s immigration ban has had at Cleveland State University was heavily discussed during the university faculty senate meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

According to the Feb. 7 issue of Cleveland State’s alternative newspaper, The Cauldron, people with connections to Cleveland State have been directly affected by the immigration ban enacted Friday, Jan. 27, despite the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that temporarily blocked the ban.

Jeremy Genovese, an associate professor in Curriculum & Foundations brought a petition he called “Academics against the Immigration Ban” and encouraged the faculty senate to endorse it.

“The president’s immigration ban is on a temporary hold right now, but it has every possibility of reviving depending upon what the courts decide,” Genovese said at the meeting. “This is a particularly critical period for us to think about this and make a statement about this.”

Genovese said that the ban comes at an unusual time for the United States, but that is it critical for the faculty senate to speak up against it.

“I recognize that in ordinary times, it would be fair to ask why a body such as this [faculty senate] [would] take a stand on a petition [because] that’s normally reserved for individuals,” Genovese said. “But it has become clear that we no longer live in ordinary times. Since the implementation of the immigration ban, we’ve seen students unable to return to their classrooms, researchers exiled from their laboratories, and physicians prevented from treating their patients… There are several cases of Cleveland State students who’ve been adversely affected by this immigration ban. So I think in these times we have an obligation to speak as a group.”

Genovese added that the petition had, at the time, already been signed by 62 Nobel Prize winners and more than 30,000 faculty members in the United States.

Andrew Resnick, an associate professor of physics at Cleveland State said that while he’s sympathetic to the contents of the petition, his concern was that the senate at Cleveland State would potentially be endorsing a petition that could oppose a ruling of the federal court.

Barbara Margolius, a faculty fellow and professor of mathematics at Cleveland State was the last faculty member to make a comment about the petition.

“There are plenty of things that are illegal but still unethical and wrong,” Margolius said. “And there are things that are wrong but not illegal and so they’re not the same thing… I think [a petition to the ban is] substantially correct and it [is] just a practical matter. As… academics, we need to be able to travel. Our colleagues need to be able to travel to other universities. [The immigration ban] interferes with our ability to be scholars at a university. It’s morally wrong.”

Faculty Senate voted to endorse the “Academics against the Immigration Ban” petition with all members voting to endorse it.


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