Sixty top U.S. research universities have roughly 10,000 students and researchers on campus from the seven countries covered in the travel ban announced last month by President Donald Trump.
The new data are included in an amicus brief filed yesterday by the Association of American Universities (AAU) in a suit pending before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Darweesh v.Trump). Several tables included in the brief detail the number of students, faculty members, postdocs, and other researchers from the seven Muslim-majority nations at 23 universities that are members of AAU (see graph, below). Last week a federal appellate court in San Francisco, California, blocked implementation of the 27 January executive order, which the Trump administration says it will reissue next week in a way that it hopes will pass legal muster.
The AAU brief argues that one big reason U.S. higher education is the envy of the world is its “ability to attract the very best students and faculty from the United States and other countries.” That ability, in turn, “depends on ensuring predictable travel to and from the United States.” Any obstacle to the free flow of people and ideas, the brief asserts, could jeopardize U.S. global leadership in higher education and research.
Several universities have made similar arguments in suits against the Trump executive order and cited data from their campuses. AAU has broadened the picture by surveying its 60 U.S. members. (Its two Canadian members—McGill University in Montreal and the University of Toronto—were not included.)
The figure of 10,000 comes from a tally of 50 institutions. Some 27 institutes requested that their data not be published, AAU says, either because of low numbers that could identify individuals or for other reasons.