President Gormley's Statement to the Campus Community on the Executive Immigration Order

Dear members of the Duquesne community,

As a university founded by priests from distant countries, dedicated to educating immigrant Pittsburgh steel mill workers and their families, Duquesne has always embraced diversity and has valued the significant contributions immigrants have made to our society. Indeed, our campus community has consistently been enriched by students, faculty and community members from foreign nations. Their achievements in research, medicine, technology, law and education not only have benefitted Duquesne University since its founding, but they have also strengthened the region, the nation and the world.

Recent actions by the executive branch raise serious questions that go to the heart of Duquesne's core principles and mission, and prompt me to write this letter.

As you are aware, this weekend, the president signed an executive order that immediately impacts individuals from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. The details are still evolving; there appear to be ongoing discussions among agencies tasked with enforcing the order. However, refugees, migrants and individuals with visas and green cards (who are legally permitted to study, work and live in the United States with their families) are most at risk of being adversely affected. This may include Duquesne students, faculty, staff members and their families. Although several judicial rulings have blocked the order's enforcement, the ultimate resolution is still uncertain.

Along with others across the country in the academic and higher education communities, and those committed to advancing social justice world-wide, we express deep concern regarding this executive order. As a Catholic, Spiritan institution with a long history of supporting the needs of the underserved including refugees and immigrants - not just in Pittsburgh but within our global community - we support a reasonable approach to immigration that is not based upon fear or hate, does not discriminate and does not cause harm to individuals, families or employers.

Within our own campus community, we can and should engage in respectful, thoughtful dialogue on these critical issues. In this spirit, I encourage you to join me for a campus-wide discussion on Monday, February 13, at 3 p.m. in the Power Center Ballroom, entitled "Race and Cultural Understanding in a New Era." Among the topics discussed at this special forum will be a segment on "Muslims, Immigration, and the American Dream." We are hopeful that this event - the first in a series on civil discourse - will provide an opportunity to come together to address difficult issues confronting our nation and our own university community.

In the meantime, if you have concerns regarding your own status - or that of a family member - in light of the recent executive order, please contact Dr. Joseph DeCrosta, Director of International Programs, at; Dr. DeCrosta can refer you to the appropriate person who can provide assistance.

Together, we will remain committed to our longstanding tradition of working hard to advance social justice and diversity, as part of our broader commitment to furthering God's creation by respecting the individuality and worth of each individual human being, whether born in the United States or elsewhere.


Ken Gormley

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

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