University of Northern British Columbia President Dr. Daniel Weeks issued the following statement with regards to the executive order issued in the United States Friday preventing individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days:
"The University of Northern British Columbia places a high value on internationalization in post-secondary education. This requires that freedom of movement, freedom of thought, and freedom of speech among academics, students, researchers and, indeed, the public at large are valued and respected. We must be vigilant in our defence of these ideals and true to the spirit of excellence found at our post-secondary institutions.
"For individuals to be targeted, or persecuted based only on a birthplace, a nationality, or a religion, is reprehensible at best, and utterly alarming at worst. We welcome individuals every day from around the world to join our community, and know this is essential to maintaining a vibrant and productive learning environment that calls upon many cultures, peoples, and belief systems to be its very best.
"UNBC is proud to offer a stable, productive environment in which our students learn and develop into the leaders who will shape the future of our nation. It’s an environment in which our faculty teach and conduct world-leading research about the issues that are shaping global perspectives. We work together as a community to provide inspiration in a world that offers so much hope and possibility.
"I am proud of post-secondary leaders and colleagues from around the world who are speaking to the values of their own institutions. I am proud that UNBC is a member institution of Universities Canada, which has also issued a strong statement in support of the values of post-secondary education and those who choose to pursue it. Mostly, however, I am proud of the UNBC community, as I know we will always rise above obstacles, stare down the spectres of persecution and division, and embrace the challenge of identifying solutions and demonstrating true Northern leadership.”