Letter to the Editor 10/11/2018

By BENJAMIN TAYLOR and DAVID JOHNSON | October 11, 2018

In response to “Protesters demand an end to the JHU-ICE partnership” published on Sept. 27.

To the Editors: 

On September 21, as the September 27 edition of The News-Letter reported, a coalition of students, faculty, and community activists stormed the office of Vice Provost for Student Affairs Kevin Shollenberger with a petition demanding the University sever its direct financial ties with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  

This demonstration followed a unanimously passed mid-September resolution by the Student Government Association also calling for an end to Hopkins’ contracts with ICE, which was reported in the September 13 edition of this paper. 

The University administration has yet to publicly respond to either. 

The hypocrisy of these contracts will be vividly on display this Saturday as the JHU Center for Social Concern is hosts the 10th Annual President’s Day of Service. According to President Ron Daniels, quoted on the event’s website, the Day of Service “stands as a great example of the ways Hopkins is not simply in Baltimore, but of this city, and the ways in which our long-standing commitment to our communities are a priority.” 

In light of Johns Hopkins’ continued cooperation with ICE, however, it is clear that the possessive “our communities” does not cover all communities. 

The appallingly racist practices of ICE, which have been widely publicized in recent months, stand in stark contrast to the principles of diversity and equality. Apparently, the University administration is unfazed by this contradiction. 

The ICE scandals in the past year are only the most recent moments in the history of racist policies woven into this country’s DNA. The struggle against ICE is not a struggle to get back to normal: it is a struggle for a new society, one free from the detention of children, the tearing apart of families, and the sudden deportation of valued members of our communities (including library staff workers).

If the values of “diversity” and “community engagement” are to be more than mere slogans — and if Hopkins is serious about its expressed commitment to equality — ending its contracts with ICE is non-negotiable. 

Johns Hopkins cannot truly foster a space devoted to diversity, international cooperation, and community engagement without ridding itself of these contracts — and informing the University community what steps are being taken to this end. 

Hopkins is presently facilitating the most violent dimensions of the Trump administration. Students, faculty, and staff must continue demanding that it not. Ending its contracts with ICE is the first step.

Signed,

David Johnson and Ben Taylor
Graduate Students, Department of Political Science

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