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ISA Statement Regarding Executive Order on Travel Ban

On Friday, January 27, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an executive order which bans entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, and which suspends entry for refugees, immigrants, dual nationals, and US permanent residents from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, or longer.

As a scholarly organization, ISA has a professional obligation to promote and protect the values of academic freedom. As such, the ISA strongly condemns any action by any government which prevents the free movement of scholars engaged in research on international affairs, or any other scholarly discipline. Indeed, the charter of the Academic Freedom Committee of the ISA includes the following language: "The Committee will document such violations as: government revocation of academic degrees; demotion or dismissal; denial of a petition to emigrate, travel abroad or return to one's country of origin; and arrest, arbitrary detention, disappearance, and extrajudicial killing."

This order, which has already been challenged in Federal Courts, is an infringement upon the academic freedom of scholars from those countries who wish to travel to the United States to conduct research, collaborate with colleagues, and engage in conferences and conventions. It will cause serious disruption in the lives of scholars and students who, prior to the issuing of the order, had already undergone the complex and time-consuming process for obtaining the necessarypapers for travel. It may also violate the constitutional rights of scholars and students who are in lawful permanent resident status. Finally, it constitutes a serious disruption of the business of our upcoming 2017 Annual Convention, in Baltimore.

For ISA members attending the ISA Convention in Baltimore, and for concerned members of the general public, we encourage you to attend the two roundtables (room assignment pending) dedicated to the topic of academic freedom:

  1. WB39: Academic Freedom, Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism (Wednesday, 10:30AM)
  2. SC39: Academic Freedom and Professional Associations (Saturday, 1:45PM)

Scholars negatively affected by this executive order are strongly encouraged to contact the committee through its dedicated email address (academic-



T.V. Paul, ISA President
Ashley Leeds, ISA President-Elect
Paul Diehl, ISA Past-President
Mark A. Boyer, ISA Executive Director
Anthony Lang, Chair, ISA Academic Freedom Committee


NOTE: This statement was proposed through the Academic Freedom Committee process and adopted by the ISA Executive Committee using its regular decision-making rules for academic freedom issues. This process took several days to unfold.




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