January 29, 2017
Dear UT Community:
As you are aware, this past Friday the White House issued an executive order temporarily banning citizens of seven countries from entering the United States. The direct impact this order will have on members of the UT community is unclear at this time, but this weekend, I find the university’s motto to be more profound than ever: “What starts here changes the world.”
What starts at UT benefits not only the state of Texas, but also our nation and our nation’s leadership role internationally. To achieve our mission at UT, we value a diverse community, a community that includes all of us — students, faculty, and staff members. And as a university of the first class, we attract many of the brightest individuals from around the world.
I am proud to say we have 110 students, faculty members and scholars who are citizens of the seven affected countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan. The talents that brought them to UT are deeply valued, and their perspectives represent an essential part of the university.
Many of the UT community members from the affected countries are currently in the United States and we strongly encourage them to refrain from international travel at this time. To those who are abroad, please exercise caution and know that we are doing everything we can regarding your return to UT. My leadership team is monitoring the impact of the order. As its meaning is clarified, we will continue communicating with those affected.
I encourage every member of UT to support their fellow students and scholars in the days ahead.
Gregory L. Fenves