Dear fellow Pitt community members:
Our very mission—to leverage knowledge for society’s gain—demands a global perspective. We seek to tackle the world’s greatest challenges. We welcome the most talented faculty, students, staff and visitors from near and far. And we collaborate with the most distinguished scholars, universities and research institutions from around the world.
These international pursuits and collaborations are the oxygen for the University of Pittsburgh’s vibrant and rich academic environment. Some of our most celebrated members—scholars and discoverers like Yuan Chang, Adolf Grünbaum, Cho-yun Hsu, Maud Menten, Carmelo Mesa-Lago, Wangari Maathai and Vladimir Zworykin—chose to join our University community and have written significant chapters in Pitt’s remarkable history of accomplishments and achievements. Today, as our celebrations for the Year of Pitt Global conclude, I am confident that some of the brightest storylines in Pitt’s future will be authored by faculty, students and staff who have also joined our university from afar.
Yet, this long-standing tradition of global academic engagement is increasingly under attack. Rising geopolitical tensions over economic competitiveness, trade and national security have begun to erode support for the robust global academic engagement that we have long enjoyed—and which is crucial for Pitt’s continued success.
National and economic security are based, to a large extent, on access to the latest knowledge and technology. This linkage places research-intensive universities like Pitt at the front lines of these issues. As a result—and for the first time since the end of the Cold War—university-based research and scholarship are facing calls to restrict global engagement. A rising tide of fear is fueling uncertainty, confusion and rapidly changing responses by our federal agencies, and the effects of government policies on research universities have been especially striking.
Collaborations between scientists across national boundaries have been subject to unprecedented scrutiny. Established practices have been prohibited on technicalities. And researchers, particularly immigrants and visitors from China, have been the target of aggressive investigations and public sanctions.
At Pitt, our mission demands better—and so does our University community.
As a public institution, we will continue to uphold all laws governing research, innovation and international partnerships while fostering a vibrant and globally engaged university. As a world leader in research and learning, we must both excel at our mission and protect public interests—despite the difficult climate and challenges involved.
This work requires us to remain engaged with Congress, federal agencies and national university associations to advocate for sensible and clear government actions that address real threats without causing irreparable harm to our nation's research universities, which are still admired around the world.
It also requires us to issue new guidance as needed. As a result, I urge everyone to pay close attention to new information, since this is one of the best tools we have for helping our community members navigate the current, rapidly shifting legal and regulatory environment.
And, when new guidance does arrive, we promise to assist any affected University community member and to do so without fear, prejudice or invidious distinctions based on an individual’s nationality, ethnicity, race or country of origin.
For the international members of our academic community, I will state the obvious: You belong here. We welcomed you to our campus in good faith and in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, and we want you to have a productive and positive Pitt experience. We will continue to do our part to help you feel at home here—no matter where else you have called home.
I invite our extended University community to join me in this effort, and—as always—I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together.