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CMU joins 16 universities to oppose 'hardship' of Trump's travel ban

Tom Fontaine
| Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, 2:24 p.m.
Graduates stand as the national anthem is played during Carnegie Mellon University's commencement on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at Gesling Stadium in Oakland.
Tribune-Review
Graduates stand as the national anthem is played during Carnegie Mellon University's commencement on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at Gesling Stadium in Oakland.

Carnegie Mellon and 16 other American research universities filed a legal brief Monday opposing President Donald Trump's travel ban in a pending federal case in New York.

"Each university has a global mission, and each derives immeasurable benefit from the contributions of diverse students, faculty and scholars from around the world," attorneys for the universities wrote in a filing known as an amicus, or friend of the court, brief.

"The executive order in this case threatens that ability, and creates significant hardship for (the universities') valued international students, faculty and scholars," according to the brief, which was filed in the U.S. Eastern District of New York.

The pending case there is related to Trump's proposed ban on accepting immigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

In the amicus brief, attorneys write that Carnegie Mellon has 26 students and seven faculty members and scholars from the seven countries.

Carnegie Mellon, which did not return a message, seeks to "focus on continued international engagement, and deeper and broader incorporation of the full CMU experience around the world," the brief said.

To illustrate Carnegie Mellon's commitment to that global mission and diversity, the brief said that CMU has campuses in Qatar and Rwanda and university president Subra Suresh is an immigrant who came to the United States "at age 21 with a partially filled suitcase, less than $100 in cash and a one-way airplane ticket purchased with a loan."

Suresh, who is Indian, was on the faculty at Brown University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and served as director of the National Science Foundation before becoming Carnegie Mellon's president.

The brief said 41 percent of Carnegie Mellon's enrollment and 15 percent of its faculty are from foreign countries.

In addition to Carnegie Mellon, the universities who joined in the filing included all eight of the Ivy League's members and the University of Chicago, Duke University, Emory University, Johns Hopkins University, MIT, Northwestern University, Stanford University and Vanderbilt University.

Tom Fontaine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7847 or tfontaine@tribweb.com.

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