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January 31, 2017

500 local educators, including Drexel president, sign petition against Trump's travel ban

Hundreds of local educators have joined thousands more across the nation in signing a petition that opposes President Donald Trump's immigration executive order that excludes many travelers from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States.

The petition, called "Academics Against Immigration Executive Order" was published Friday and has since collected about 14,000 signatures, including nearly 500 from local colleges and universities.

Drexel University's president John Fry's signature is among those on the list.

"The unrealistic conditions required for discontinuing the suspension make it very likely that this EO will turn into a permanent ban," the petition reads. "We, the undersigned academics and researchers from a variety of fields of study, backgrounds, and personal convictions, would like to voice our concern and strongly oppose this measure ..."

Of the largest Philadelphia-based colleges and universities, 31 educators from Drexel University; eight from La Salle University; 40 from Temple University; 13 from Villanova University; and a whopping 210 from Trump's alma mater, University of Pennsylvania, signed the petition.

No one from Saint Joseph's University had signed by early Tuesday evening.

Additionally, five signatures from the University of the Sciences, one from Chestnut Hill College,  two from Thomas Jefferson University, 43 from the University of Delaware, five from Rowan University and 139 from Rutgers University appeared on the list.

The region's educators came from across departments and specialties, including Temple's Tyler School of Art to the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

The petition opposes the "ban" for three reasons, citing it as discriminatory, detrimental to the national interests of the United States and that it imposes undue burden on members of our community.

Trump signed the order Friday barring Syrians from entering the U.S. indefinitely and banning refugees from entering the country for 120 days. Also, immigrants from seven countries, including Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen, are banned from entering for 90 days.

Fry released a statement Saturday concerning the executive order, calling its implementation "chaotic."

"As evidenced by statements issued across the landscape of American higher education, such a blanket ban is antithetical to many of the values we cherish," Fry said in a statement. "Drexel believes in inclusion and equality, and we are committed to celebrating and recognizing the fruits of diversity and global engagement."

Other area schools, including Penn, have come out against the executive order, too. Though Fry's signature was the only one of a local college president included on the list. 

Over the weekend, about 5,000 people protested at Philadelphia International Airport, where immigrants were being detained or denied entry into the United States as a result of Trump's order. 

View the complete petition, which is still gathering signatures, here