James Wright, a historian and a president emeritus of Dartmouth College, is the author of Enduring Vietnam: An American Generation and Its War. He was an enlisted Marine before the Vietnam War. New York Times Op-Ed by President Emeritus James Wright. Read full Opinion here.

The History Department Condemns the US Executive Order

Both democracy and good scholarship depend on the free exchange of ideas and information across national borders. The Executive Order's establishment of national and religious criteria for participation in scholarly exchanges threatens our academic mission, and is based on indefensibly broad extensions of national security mandates. Barring foreign students and researchers from the United States not only deprives American institutions of the opportunity to lead in our fields but also raises the specter of reciprocal restrictions limiting the mobility and research access of American scholars.

Such policies are immoral and have historically worked against their stated goal of protecting national security. Again and again, closing doors to refugees and migrants has impaired international exchange and cooperation, raising enmity and the prospect of conflict. Opening doors to those previously excluded, by contrast, has promoted prosperity and enriched cultures. As professionals, we must warn against the privileging of fear and false causalities evident in the Executive Order.

Moving forward, we commit to supporting foreign scholars and students and mitigating the Executive Order's detrimental effects on scholarship. We stand in solidarity with the more than 3,000 academics from around the world who have called for a boycott of international academic conferences held in the United States until the ban is repealed. The boycott clearly shows how the ban is already having a chilling effect on our ability as scholars to meet and collaborate with colleagues from other nations. We call on Dartmouth College to use its legal and financial resources to defend jeopardized students and staff who are not U.S. citizens and to create opportunities for as-yet-unaffiliated non-U.S. scholars who risk being cut off by the Executive Order. We call on the Trump administration to rescind the order and to work to repair the damage it has already caused to America's standing in the world.