January 28, 2017


Dear Pitt Community:

Yesterday, the President signed an executive order on immigration that has the potential to significantly impact our university community. This order included an immediate suspension of visas and other immigration benefits for nationals of seven countries: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia.

The details of precisely who is impacted by this executive action, and under what circumstances, are still unclear at this time. Nevertheless, today we have heard reports of individuals being denied entry to the United States as a direct result of this order.  

I am deeply troubled by this executive action. I join others in the academic world who are condemning this executive order and calling for a sensible immigration policy that protects national security without discriminating against individuals and without incurring potential and profound harm to our nation’s system of higher education.

The University of Pittsburgh has always viewed education and research as a global enterprise—one that is a vital part of our mission. Because of this, our vibrant community includes students, faculty, visiting scholars, family members, and staff with ties to the countries covered by Friday’s executive order. Therefore, I want to share the following information with you:

First: For anyone in our university community who has questions or concerns related to this executive order, please contact our Office of International Services (OIS) at OIS.pitt.edu or call 412-624-7120.

I encourage you to check these resources regularly, as we will continue to update them as information becomes available.

Second: I urge anyone who is planning to travel outside the United States—and who is from one of the countries impacted, regardless of your visa or residency status—to contact OIS before traveling outside the United States to get the latest information.  

Our country was founded by individuals escaping from persecution based on their religion. Our government was founded on a belief that “all men are created equal.” We are a nation of immigrants whose history was enriched by the waves of immigrants crossing onto our shores.  

Similarly, the University of Pittsburgh is built on a foundation of values that rejects discrimination and embraces diversity as essential to the tasks of education and discovery. Our University’s remarkable success story has been written by individuals who came from all over the world—by men and women who shared all types of religious beliefs.  They came to Pittsburgh to learn, to teach, to discover, and to serve. Without question, we are a better university because of them.  

In the coming days, we will continue to work with the Administration and with Congress to share our profound concerns over these changes and to reaffirm our values and our position that education and discovery are enhanced through robust global engagement.


Patrick Gallagher