To all members of the Northeastern University community:

For the past decade, we have joined together to make Northeastern a truly global university. In doing so, we have set forth a series of core values such as the value of inclusivity and a bedrock belief that diversity makes our community stronger.

I find the president’s executive order restricting international travel to be antithetical to our core values and completely unacceptable. I say this as an educator and as an American who came to this country as an international student.

Throughout the past week, I have had the opportunity to speak to many in our community who are directly affected by this new reality. I have listened to their stories and seen the anxiety etched in their faces.

To the 250 Northeastern students and 31 faculty and staff impacted by this executive order: Your story is my story. You have my unwavering pledge that your university will stand by you, safeguard you, and be your home away from home. To my faculty and staff colleagues: Ensuring that all in our community can achieve their dreams without disruption is our highest priority. It is an honor to work with you on this charge.

As we all know, Northeastern never stands idly by, observing from the sidelines. On Friday, we joined seven other leading universities in filing an amicus brief in federal court. Our brief makes clear that the executive order imperils our ability to have students and scholars collaborate and advance knowledge across borders. The order represents a threat to the mission of global higher education.

In the aftermath of this executive order, it has become abundantly clear that the integration of diverse people, ideas, and cultures—which universities like Northeastern make possible—is more important than ever before.

Let us turn this challenge into opportunity. Together, we will seize this moment to reaffirm our core values and strengthen our commitment to being a diverse, inclusive, and truly global university.

I look forward to achieving this important work together.


Joseph E. Aoun