Graduate Representative Organization
GRO Statement: Executive Order on Visas and Immigration
On January 27, 2017, Holocaust Remembrance Day, the President of the United States signed an executive order temporarily banning people from seven countries and all refugees from entering the United States. The GRO fully and emphatically condemns this executive order. Thousands of refugees, legal immigrants, and non-immigrants have not been able to come to the United States. Countless others have been forced to avoid traveling outside the United States, held hostage by the fact that they may not be able to reenter. These are people with valid documentation, including green card holders. Entering the United States as an immigrant or refugee is not an easy task and usually has to be prepared months, sometimes even more than a year, ahead.
For graduate students and other academics from the seven countries, the executive order has professional as well as personal consequences. Some of these professional restrictions are practical – academia relies on international exchange, and international travel is required for nearly all of us. Others are less direct – it is unreasonable to expect a person living under a government that treats them with open hostility to put their concern for their well-being aside and focus on their academic goals. The executive order and its plausible successors may also mean that we cannot receive any new graduate students from the affected nations, limiting the educational choices of these potential students and impoverishing our community.
President Daniels has made a clear statement that “the order stands in unambiguous opposition to our country’s long-cherished values and ideas” and that the “human impact of such an assault on these core values was immediate, including at Johns Hopkins” (http://hub.jhu.edu/2017/02/01/daniels-immigration-order-message/).
We are thankful for such clear words and we endorse President Daniels’s message.
The GRO’s purpose is to advocate for graduate students and we have taken a stand against this discriminatory act. Last week, we participated in the NAGPS action day and on Monday, we decided to support this rally. We do what the graduate student body asks for, so if you have ideas, please let the GRO General Council and Executive Board know. Apart from supporting and starting actions, we can help fellow graduate students navigate difficult situations. Although we cannot provide legal advice, we can direct you to resources and connect you with people on campus who specialize on particular questions and problems.
As the GRO, we condemn the executive order and any form of discrimination against refugees, visa holders, and visitors of the United States.
If you are affected by the executive order: you are welcome at JHU and we are proud that you are part of our community.
The GRO works hard to connect graduate students to the extensive Hopkins network. We do this by acting as liaisons between students and administration to advocate for graduate student needs and distribute information.
We also hold awesome advocacy and social events! Check out our Facebook page for more details.
* Motion to approve minutes; motion passes
E-BOARD REPORT (10/31/2016) AND MEETING WITH TIFFANY SANCHEZ
Went over individual e-board member projects. Discussed changes to the
group recognition policy.
– How many grads vs undergrads? Mostly grads.
– Are these all Homewood grads? Almost overwhelmingly yes.
– Do you expect 200 people to show up for a basketball tournament?
Yes; this includes players and friends of players.
– How sure are you that 200 people will actually show up? The 200 is
based on the number of people who have already signed up, experience
from previous years.
– How will you advertise the event? Facebook, flyers, and so on.
– What will you be using the money for? Medals/trophies, (nonalcoholic)
* Motion to fully fund; motion passes
– How specific is this event to BME? It’s more a career talk than a
technical talk. Should generally be of interest to people in
– Have you asked other departments with an interest in optics for
– This is a series; will you come back to request more funding? May
vary; for speakers that don’t need travel funding, e.g., won’t need
– Some consensus that there should be a uniform policy about whether
or not we fund groups holding events with a narrow focus
* Motion to fully fund; motion passes
LETTER TO DEAN ABOUT THE SITUATION OF HUMANITIES CENTER
– Perhaps the document should be more general — not just about the
Humanities Center, but about a policy for what happens to students
when a department closes. On the other hand, getting a policy would
take a while — more specific questions will probably get answered
– Some phrasing in the letter is too pessimistic.
* Motion to approve the letter, subject to some edits and a change in
tone; motion passes
UPDATE FROM ADVOCACY CHAIRS
Have been working with Directors of Dining on expanding food options
on campus, particularly after hours, and talking with the Office of
International Services to address international students’ concerns.
– Would you be willing to pay using J-Cash and if not, why? Seems like
many grads don’t know about J-Cash but aren’t fundamentally opposed to
– The options that already exist need to be advertised better to
UPDATE FROM HEALTH CONCERNS CHAIR AND ASSISTANT: HEALTH INSURANCE
Went over health insurance survey.
– Hopkins employees don’t currently get parental leave; policy is on
the way in spring(?).
– Many students don’t look into policies around health insurance until
they run into an issue; how can we distribute information more widely?
– Has the university responded to concerns about the cost of health
care? Yes, the administration is looking into co-pays at peer
For minutes from prior meetings, click here.