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Harvard President Drew Faust explicitly addressed President Donald Trump and his administration’s policies in a media roundtable at Bloomberg News on Tuesday, The Harvard Crimson reported.
“This administration seems unpredictable in many ways,” Faust told journalists, according to The Crimson. “It doesn’t seem tied to the traditional notions of the role of government. And so [the new administration’s] understanding of this long relationship between federal government and higher education is unclear to us,” she continued.
Her comments are some of the most pointed yet. In the past, Faust has tread more carefully in calling out Trump by name, instead voicing support for students while aiming to remain nonpartisan.
At the roundtable, she restated her concern for “safety and welfare of our students, our undocumented students, immigrants who are students and faculty and those who come to conferences and bring international perspectives that are key to learning and discovery,” The Crimson reported.
Much of that sentiment echoes earlier concerns Faust voiced to students in an email sent in January.
“Nearly half of the deans of Harvard’s schools are immigrants – from India, China, Northern Ireland, Jamaica, and Iran,” she wrote at the time. “Benefiting from the talents and energy, the knowledge and ideas of people from nations around the globe is not just a vital interest of the University; it long has been, and it fully remains, a vital interest of our nation.”
The email urged the Trump administration, Congress, and the court system to reconsider an executive order signed that bars citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen from entering the US for 90 days. That order is currently stalled in federal court.
But worry still exists across the US among undocumented immigrants as the Trump Administration has indicated it wants to ramp up mass deportations.
And Faust indicated that the harsh rhetoric concerning immigrants may dissuade future students from pursuing an education in the US.
“Who are we going to lose if enormously talented people don’t feel welcome here?” she asked.