Professor Sir Steve Smith

Vice-Chancellor Sir Steve Smith comments on US travel ban

Commenting on the US travel ban, Professor Sir Steve Smith, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Exeter, said:

“The University of Exeter is proud to be an international community that welcomes and nurtures the talent of students and academic staff from around the world. Without free movement of people and ideas the whole world suffers, and this is why we believe the imposition of travel restrictions by the US government based on nationality both undermines the principle of academic freedom and jeopardises the advancement of knowledge between nations. At Exeter, we collaborate widely with institutions abroad, including in the United States, and we cannot condone a policy that restricts these freedoms, curtails intellectual partnerships or impedes research.

“The ban is already affecting members of our community, and we are deeply concerned that an Iraqi postgraduate student at the University of Exeter has been stopped at an airport as he was about to board a plane to America, where he had been invited to present an academic paper along with his Professors at a prestigious US institution. The PhD student, who obtained a visa two months ago, has lived and studied in the UK for the past five years.

“The University of Exeter will continue to be a collaborative and diverse community that welcomes people from around the world, regardless of their nationality and will be actively supporting any staff and students who are affected by the ban.”

Any students who think they might be affected by the ban and would like to talk to someone about it should contact the International Student Support Office. Staff members with similar concerns can contact the University’s Governance and Compliance team.

Date: 31 January 2017

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