Vanderbilt University has joined more than a dozen other private colleges in opposing President Trump's immigration restrictions. Even though the executive order was suspended last week, they filed a formal brief in support of another legal challenge, this one in New York.
The group of universities, which include the Ivy Leagues, say that the temporary travel ban would apply to many of their international students and faculty who are in the U.S. on visas. They point out that many contribute heavily to research, especially in technical fields like science and engineering.
Therefore, the brief argues, the executive order "impairs the ability of American universities to draw the finest international talent, and inhibits the free exchange of ideas."
At Vanderbilt, seven percent of undergrads and nearly a quarter of graduate students are international. University officials declined to report how many come specifically from the seven countries included in the ban.
They did say that no students or faculty have been stranded abroad since the executive order was signed.
Vanderbilt University has signed "amicus briefs," as they're called, supporting major lawsuits in the past. But they have usually been directly related to higher education. Most recently, in 2015, it joined a brief supporting the consideration of race in college admissions in Fisher v. University of Texas, which went to the U.S. Supreme Court.