Profs demand Johns Hopkins end ICE partnership 'immediately'

Professors at Johns Hopkins University are petitioning the school’s president to “end the partnership of Johns Hopkins University with ICE.”

An online letter addressed to President Ronald Daniels demands that he “immediately dissolve the currently existing partnership between the Johns Hopkins University and ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement),” which is designed to improve ICE training and educational programs.

According to the university’s website, Johns Hopkins currently has at least two partnerships with ICE, including the “JHU-ICE Fellows Program” and the “JHU-ICE MS in Management Cohort Program.” 

[RELATED: Princeton students panic over Border Patrol job listing]

The letter alleges that ICE has “imposed a brutal policy of raids, deportations, and family separations of immigrants, some of whom are apprehended at the border, some of whom have lived peaceably here in our country for decades before being stripped of their rights and ripped from their families and communities.” 

According to the petition,“ICE is now currently responsible for the fabrication and maintenance of facilities across the country,” which “have been described by scholars of the Holocaust as meeting the conditions considered definitive of concentration camps: indefinite detention without trial on the basis of identity.”

[RELATED: School issues warning about 'rumors' of ICE agents on campus] 

“We recognize that a range of views about the politics of immigration and border security are possible,” the petition concedes, saying, “We do not expect that you will publicly respond to each new policy or statement made by this administration.”

Yet while the petitioners acknowledge that there is “a historic relationship between this university and the federal government which has enabled decades of life-saving and innovative research,” they also argue that living up to the school’s “stated values of free intellectual inquiry, human rights, human flourishing, and ‘knowledge for the world,’” is not possible “while assisting ICE agents.” 

The authors of the document further accuse ICE of having “cruel practices and the scale of ongoing human rights charters,” arguing that they “do not see how in good conscience Johns Hopkins University can collaborate with this organization.” 

“[W]e urge you to sever the ties that currently connect our two institutions together,” the petition concludes.

[RELATED: Activists protest ICE grant for data on weapons trafficking]

On Sunday, a Johns Hopkins English professor, Drew Daniel, who claims to have access to the petition signatures, tweeted that “We have around 900 signatures so far!” and urged members of the the Johns Hopkins community to back the document.

A graduate student and Johns Hopkins alum, Richard Tilley, declared in a tweet that he “signed that so fast” after being alerted to the petition by a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor.

The Johns Hopkins University Teachers and Researchers United (TRU), a group that bills itself as a “grad student worker organization at JHU striving for #RESPECT in and for our work,” also promoted the petition on its Twitter page, urging supporters to sign the document. 

Campus Reform reached out to Professor Daniels, but did not receive a response.

UPDATE: A JHU spokesperson provided Campus Reform with the following statement elaborating on the nature of the school's partnerships with ICE and other federal agencies:

"Johns Hopkins University faculty have longstanding service contracts with federal law enforcement agencies to provide education, training, and medical expertise.  The School of Education’s Division of Public Safety Leadership has taught leadership and management courses and workshops to employees of police departments, law enforcement agencies and other public safety organizations at the local, state and federal levels for more than 20 years, including under a contract with the Department of Homeland Security that is open to U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and other DHS agencies.  The School of Medicine’s Center for Law Enforcement Medicine provides physician oversight and education for federal personnel who are cross-trained as paramedics and emergency medical technicians, including under contract with the U.S. Secret Service; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the U.S. Marshals Service; and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement."

Follow this author on Facebook: Zachary Thomas Petrizzo and Twitter: @Zach_Petrizzo