Professional Development
Education / Universities

Here’s how Philly universities reacted to #MuslimBan

“This [Executive] Order will weaken the promise of educational opportunity,” said Penn President Amy Gutmann, who has, until now, been reluctant to criticize President Trump.

Drexel University. (Courtesy photo)

Much like SAP CEO Bill McDermott, a few of Philly’s anchor universities took issue with Donald Trump’s recent executive order, which bans refugees and immigrantsfrom seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the U.S. Albeit, some more loudly than others.

Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania, sounded off on Monday with a strongly worded letter to the Penn comunity deeming the policy to be “injurious to our work and inimical to our values.”

Remember that, as Penn president, Gutmann is also a regional business leader: Penn is largest private employer in the city.

“Immigration strengthens the fabric of this nation and our University,” said Gutmann in the statement. “Immigrants spark innovation, launch new businesses, and enrich our culture and arts. They are a precious national resource and invaluable to Penn.”

In the letter, Gutmann — herself the daughter of a Jewish immigrant who fled Nazi Germany — said legal staff was made available to students and faculty affected by the restriction.

“We stand for open-hearted compassion and open-minded opportunity,” Gutmann wrote. “We will remain unyielding in our allegiance to our fundamental principles and to each other. Penn will not bend.”

Gutmann’s strong statement is somewhat surprising. The Inquirer’s Susan Snyder noted that Gutmann has been reluctant to criticize President Trump, a Wharton alumnus.

Penn is also sharing professors’ critical takes on the immigration order.


In a milder statement, Drexel University President John Fry said Sunday that the implementation of the ban had been “chaotic,” and joined a petition to ask for the policy to be reconsidered.

“As evidenced by statements issued across the landscape of American higher education, such a blanket ban is antithetical to many of the values we cherish,” Fry said in a statement. “Drexel believes in inclusion and equality, and we are committed to celebrating and recognizing the fruits of diversity and global engagement.


Per Temple University’s president Richard Englert, who also released a statement on the matter, the North Philly institution is keeping a close eye on the situation. Ebglert offered the community the support and guidance of the International Student and Scholar Services office.

“Temple prides itself on being a community of diverse scholars, many of whom come to us from foreign nations,” Englert said. “We are committed to enabling our faculty, students and visitors—both from the U.S. and from locations around the globe—to contribute to the vitality of the education we provide and the role we play in the local, regional and global economy.”

Companies: Drexel University / Temple University / University of Pennsylvania

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