Freedoms of movement and research under threat in the United States
After President Trump issued his executive order banning travel to the US by refugees and citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries, the reactions have understandably been numerous and strong. His action is completely unacceptable and goes against the core principles of equality and human rights. Many from the academic world have reacted, both in Sweden and internationally, including SUHF, European University Association and International Association of Universities, of which Stockholm University is a member. We absolutely support their demand that the order be withdrawn.
At the same time, the president has also taken drastic actions to prevent the dissemination of research-based knowledge, such as climate change, and has announced that institutions of higher education will be partially or completely unfunded. Together, these actions constitute a clear threat to the freedom of research, which has the freedom of movement and an open exchange of knowledge at its heart. Academic freedom and freedom of expression are under attack while Trump fires wildly in all directions.
It’s no wonder that American academics are mobilising to plan a ‘March for Science.’ Other researchers fear that a protest would polarise people, and emphasize the need to go out in the community and have a conversation about what research is and how it differs from opinion, especially with those who don’t know already. Of course, one approach doesn’t exclude the other. The idea has spread worldwide – a ‘March for Science’ is planned in Stockholm on 22 April, in support of our American colleagues.
In the past, Swedish academics have seen the US as a pioneer and natural ally in the free exchange of research. Now that picture appears to be drastically changing, or at least threatened, by a handful of signatures and tweets from an unpredictable president. We have never had more cause to show our strength.
February 7, 2017
Source: External Relations and Communications Office