University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler, responding to President Trump temporarily suspending immigration for citizens of seven majority Muslim nations, said the executive orders are of "great concern" to the public school's leadership and the university "will support members of our community adversely affected."
At a private college in St. Paul, Macalester College's president on Monday confronted head-on the executive orders from the new White House administration, saying they "cowardly and cruel," and an affront to this nation's "generosity and decency."
Leaders at another private college, Augsburg in Minneapolis, weighed in with similar condemnation, saying the president's orders defy their school's values.
In a statement issued Sunday, Kaler did not come down on either side of the dispute over Trump's sudden move to greatly restrict people entering the United States from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen in what the president explains is a move to combat terrorism.
"The wisdom of this order, its impact on our national safety, and the consequences for our students, faculty, and staff will be debated," Kaler wrote, "but the issues remain of great concern to the leadership of the university."
Pointing out that a federal judge issued a stay affecting parts of the executive order, Kaler continued that "this is an evolving situation, and we will continue to monitor it closely."
Kaler said the university has more than 8,000 students and scholars from around the world, including hundreds from the nations identified in the executive order. On the university's Twin Cities campus, there are more than 100 students who are Iranian citizens, none from Sudan and three or fewer from the other five, according to the fall enrollment data.
"We have communicated with members of those communities, and we will continue to assess whether any of them have yet been adversely affected by the executive order," his statement read. "If so, we will help."
Kaler pointed out that immigration and legal resources are available through International Student and Scholar Services and University Student Legal Service.
"This university will support members of our community adversely affected by the executive order," he wrote. "We will advocate for you. You are entitled to be treated with justice and dignity, and the University of Minnesota stands with you."
On behalf of the Minnesota State system's seven public universities and other campuses, a statement from Chancellor Steven Rosenstone took a tack similar to Kaler's by reiterating "our steadfast commitment to ensuring that our campuses will remain safe and welcoming places of inclusion, hope, and opportunity for all students and employees." And like Kaler, Rosenstone steered clear of explicitly condemning the president's orders.
Macalester President Brian Rosenberg on Monday made his feelings about Trump's actions in clear and unwavering terms.
In a lengthy statement to the college's students, faculty and others, said that "these orders are cowardly and cruel. They make a mockery of the claim that we are a country of generosity and decency."
While not mentioning Kaler's tempered statement over the weekend directly, Rosenberg wrote that leaders at some institutions of higher learning have been "too cautious" in their reaction to Trump's executive orders.
"I will leave it to the courts to determine whether or not [the executive orders] are legal," the Macalester president continued, "but history has shown us far too often that legality and morality are not always aligned."
Rosenberg pledged that his college will do all it can to ease the impact of Trump's orders, including joining with nearby Macalester Plymouth United Church of Christ in its role as a place of sanctuary to support anyone in a legal fight involving immigration and deportation.
Augsburg 'deeply troubled'
Leaders at another private college in the Twin Cities, Augsburg, said they are "deeply troubled" by Trump's orders, adding that they "run counter to the values of this institution and our nation."
President Paul Pribbenow and Provost Karen Kaivola said that the Minneapolis college "will not back down" on its commitment to "provide a safe learning and working environment with equitable access to education for all members of our campus community."
No Augsburg students currently studying abroad are impacted by the immigration/travel ban and all will be able to return safely to Augsburg and their homes.
The statement pointed out that the school has funding set aside for students who need assistance in pursuing U.S. citizenship and that it "will ensure that all students at Augsburg are able to finish their degrees regardless of immigration status."