As you will all know the United States Government has issued an executive order temporarily banning refugees and immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries. This order has also been applied to current visa holders and legal residents of the United States who are citizens of those countries.

The Department for the Study of Religion is preparing an open letter on this topic, and President and Provost have already issued a statement on the ban and will likely issue updates in the near future. We are deeply troubled about this situation, for it has the potential to block the ability of some faculty and students to travel to the US for academic and personal reasons. It not only affects our current students, but can affect adversely graduate of our department who have, or are seeking employment in US schools, and applicants to our programs in the future.

We want to affirm not only our opposition to this action, but also our commitment to support the students of the DSR. If you would like to speak to me or Amira or Fereshteh or another faculty member about the situation, please do so.

In the meantime, we urge caution for students and faculty and staff from the affected countries in making travel plans. As noted by the University in its statement: “Students travelling abroad with concerns should call the Safety Abroad Office directly 416-946-3929; in the case of an emergency, reach us at the 24-hour collect emergency line via Campus Police at 416-978-2222. International students on all three U of T campuses who have concerns or questions can reach staff at the Centre for International Experience at 416-978-2564 or email” Faculty and staff are also encouraged to notify the University of their international travel plans and pursue caution when travelling to, or through, the United States.

John S Kloppenborg, FRSC
Professor and Chair
Department for the Study of Religion

Updated, 31 Jan 2017 – Changed title from “Statement on recent US travel restrictions” to better reflect purpose of statement.