To: The Caltech Community
From: Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President and David A. Tirrell, Provost
Date: June 1, 2020
Re: U.S. Presidential Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry of Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars from the People's Republic of China
Nearly one year ago, we wrote to express our concern about the prospect of growing restrictions on the free flow of information and ideas in the academic research enterprise in the United States. In particular, it was apparent at that time that several high-profile cases of scientific misconduct had prompted the federal government to consider steps that would curtail the full participation of foreign scientists and engineers in research programs relevant to U.S. national security and technological competitiveness.
The documented cases of misconduct are reprehensible, and involve clear violations of the well-established policies and norms that govern research integrity at Caltech and elsewhere. But we remain concerned that the inexcusable behavior of a few will prompt actions against the many international scholars who abide fully by our policies and norms, and who make vitally important contributions to our research programs every day.
On May 29, President Trump issued a "Proclamation on the Suspension of Entry as Nonimmigrants of Certain Students and Researchers from the People's Republic of China". The Proclamation suspends entry into the United States of Chinese graduate students and postdoctoral scholars who have been affiliated with entities in China that support China's "military-civil fusion strategy," which is described as an effort to acquire and divert foreign technologies to advance China's military capabilities. The Proclamation raises the further prospect that Chinese graduate students and postdoctoral scholars currently in the United States might have their visas revoked.
We fully support the efforts of the United States government to ensure our national security and to advance our technological competitiveness. Indeed, Caltech contributes to these efforts. At the same time, we stand firmly behind the principle that each of us has a right to be treated as an individual, and to be free from punishment or assumption of guilt on the basis of where we have studied in the past. The full implications of the Proclamation are not yet clear, but we want to assure you that we will do everything we can to protect all members of our community, irrespective of national origin, both in the United States and abroad, who share our principles of academic integrity and our commitment to advancing scientific knowledge and societal goals.