Press Release, Student Life

‘Free Flow of Students and Scholars Enhances Democracy’

January 30, 2017 – by Rock Jones, Ph.D.

Rock Jones, Ph.D.

Ohio Wesleyan Supports All Students Pursuing Higher Education in U.S., President Says

For 175 years, Ohio Wesleyan has fulfilled the vision of our founders who state unequivocally in our Charter that “the University is forever to be conducted on the most liberal principles, accessible to all religious denominations.” This statement has become synonymous with Ohio Wesleyan, clearly defining who we are and what we value. Indeed, we actively pursue diversity on our campus because we believe our students, faculty, staff, and the institution itself thrive in an atmosphere of free-flowing ideas and wide-ranging global perspectives and experiences.

As I shared recently with The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio Wesleyan strongly believes that a diverse student body adds to the breadth and depth of all learning and is vital to our collective efforts to understand and address the world’s most pressing issues. Since I joined Ohio Wesleyan in 2008, I have witnessed over and over again the value of such diversity, including religious diversity, to our campus and our world.

Twice in my tenure, our WCSA student-government president has been Muslim, including one student from Pakistan and one born in this country. Our two most recent graduating class trustees, elected by their classmates for three-year terms on the Board of Trustees, have been from Pakistan and Afghanistan. And we are fortunate each year to come together as a campus to celebrate Culture Fest, Diwali, Eid, Holi, and several other events that contribute to international collaboration, cooperation, and understanding.

The OWU Connection – through its Travel-Learning Courses, Theory-to-Practice Grants, and other elements – has taken our students to more than 60 countries since 2009, exploring topics ranging from social conditions for Muslim immigrants in France to perspectives of Pakistani citizens toward the United States. All of these experiences are vital to Ohio Wesleyan’s unwavering commitment to educate moral leaders for the global society, leaders who understand issues from an international and inclusive lens.

In this global society, the free flow of students and scholars enhances democracy in this country and around the world. International students attending U.S. institutions and interacting daily in this culture gain a true understanding and appreciation of our democracy and our values. When they take that understanding home, we build a more peaceful world. Such understanding may be most important with some of the nations identified in Friday’s U.S. Presidential Executive Order on interior immigration enforcement.

This order affects all institutions of higher education, as we work collectively to share knowledge and promote understanding that transcends geographical, political, and social boundaries. Like our counterparts at other colleges and universities, we at Ohio Wesleyan are closely monitoring all developments related to the order, voicing our concerns to lawmakers, and working to assist and provide accurate information for students and families with questions and concerns.

We already have reached out to all of our international students and continue to provide every OWU student with support, advice, and information. We will do everything possible to protect student privacy while adhering to legal mandates. If you believe you may be affected by this Presidential Executive Order and you have questions, please contact Darrell Albon, Administrative Director of The OWU Connection Program, at djalbon@owu.edu or Dwayne Todd, Vice President for Student Engagement and Success and Dean of Students, at dktodd@owu.edu.

Please know that Ohio Wesleyan remains wholly committed to supporting all students pursuing higher education within the United States. Ohio Wesleyan remains unshakeable in our commitment to remain “forever to be conducted on the most liberal principles, accessible to all religious denominations.”