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U.S. Universities Join Forces to Assist and Protect Endangered Scholars

NEW YORK, NY – Amid new U.S. immigration policies and threats to academic freedom around the world, a growing group of 11 universities and colleges are joining forces to create The New University in Exile Consortium (The New UIE Consortium)—an initiative in which academic institutions will provide a haven for refugee scholars.

Spearheaded The New School in New York City, The New UIE Consortium currently includes Barnard College, Brown University, Columbia University, Connecticut College, Georgetown University, George Mason University, Rutgers University-Newark, Trinity College, The New School, Wayne State University, and Wellesley College—a group that is expected to grow in the coming months.

Each institution will provide space and resources to support their hosted scholars. As the administrative base for The New UIE Consortium, The New School will work to foster an intellectual community among the scholars and their host institutions through joint programming. The scholars come from Turkey, Syria, India, and other countries.

The New UIE Consortium takes its name and mission from the first University in Exile (UIE) founded by The New School for Social Research in 1933. Created as Hitler was rising to power—a period in which Jews and those deemed politically hostile were purged from German universities—the original UIE provided a safe haven for scholars whose careers and lives were being threatened by the Nazis. It stood as a bulwark against brutal policies that undermined the independence of thought and research upon and for which universities are founded.

“In bringing scholars from Turkey, Iran, Syria, and other countries impacted by authoritarian regimes and conflict, The New School continues to uphold its mission—and the legacy of the University in Exile—by promoting and protecting academic freedom, tolerance, and free and open inquiry," New School President David Van Zandt says. "We are honored to be joined in this bold and courageous effort by other leading academic institutions across the country.”

“The New UIE Consortium brings our institution’s roots—to confront threats to scholars around the world—into the present and future when it is again urgently needed,” says Arien Mack, Alfred and Monette Marrow Professor of Psychology at The New School and founder and director of The New UIE Consortium. “It is based on our conviction that the academic community has both the responsibility and capacity to assist scholars in need, by helping to protect the intellectual capital that is jeopardized when universities and scholars are under assault.”

In an effort to create a sense of community and reduce feelings of isolation and dislocation among the displaced scholars, The New School will offer a series of seminars, workshops, and other collaborative projects that will bring the scholars into frequent contact with each other and their host colleagues. It is the hope of The New UIE Consortium that working to create a community among the scholars will ease their transition into their new academic homes in the U.S.

The New UIE Consortium is privileged to have among its newly constituted Advisory Group well-known human rights advocates Aryeh Neier, Kenneth Roth, Masha Gessen, Judith Butler, and Jonathan Fanton.

Founded in 1919, The New School was born out of principles of academic freedom, tolerance, and experimentation. Committed to social engagement, The New School today remains in the vanguard of innovation in higher education, with more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students challenging the status quo in design and the social sciences, liberal arts, management, the arts, and media. The New School welcomes thousands of adult learners annually for continuing education courses and calendar of lectures, screenings, readings, and concerts. Through its online learning portals, research institutes, and international partnerships, The New School maintains a global presence.

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