4,500 academics say they'll boycott US conferences after Trump's travel order

Signees say they want to show solidarity with those unable to attend

In an effort to protest President Trump's travel order, academics all over the world are boycotting academic conferences held in the United States.

Trump's executive order restricts people from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States. For those affected, this means being unable to attend academic conferences held in the nation.

To stand in solidarity with affected scholars and to protest the order, academics from countries not affected are also cancelling their plans to travel to the country for these academic conferences.

As of Wednesday morning, than 4,500 academics have signed a petition that reads: "We the undersigned take action in solidarity with those affected by Trump's executive order by pledging not to attend international conferences in the U.S. while the ban persists."

Some academics hope the boycott will encourage international conferences to take place in other countries, or to allow those banned to participate via video.

Others are more skeptical, expressing mixed feelings and wondering if the boycott will be useful.

"Bottom line, I would like everyone to support each other no matter what their decisions are," says Megan MacKenzie, an associate professor at the University of Sydney who is helping to plan and organize the upcoming conference of the International Studies Association.

Helen McCarthy, a reader in history at Queen's University London, sums up the difficult decision in a piece she wrote for The Guardian: "Should we change our plans in solidarity with our banned colleagues, or would doing so only isolate U.S.-based scholars whose critical voices are needed now more than ever?" (Najmabadi, Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/30; Redden, Inside Higher Ed, 1/31).

Read more: Chaos as stranded students, faculty wait to return home

Next in Today's Briefing

The secret to this community college's high graduation rate

Next Briefing

  • Manage Your Events
  • Saved webpages and searches
  • Manage your subscriptions
  • Update personal information
  • Invite a colleague