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RSA Statement on the January 27, 2017 Executive Order

The work of the Rhetoric Society of America is to study, teach, advocate for, and practice the best ideals of human communication. This includes exchanges among people that are characterized by honesty, accountability to the shared reality of empirical facts, and a willingness to hear and consider opinions that are not our own. It is only through a commitment to inclusive modes of rhetorical interaction that communities of equals—local, national, and global—are built and sustained. These are essential principles that propel our work.

As an academic society, we believe that the presidential executive order of January 27 banning or limiting immigration as well as temporary entry into the United States for people from seven majority-Muslim countries violates the spirit of our organization's principles. We recognize the national and social imperative for safety, but as the negative consequences of these actions rapidly accrue, it is evident that this action was not the product of the sort of deliberative process that our organization supports. Specifically, the various branches of government responsible for implementing this policy and the private entities it impacts were not adequately consulted. We especially deplore how these executive orders undermine the place of people of Muslim origin or faith in our national community.

We call upon the Trump administration and members of Congress as well as the courts to work quickly to remedy this situation and return to processes by which problems are addressed by the United States government first through responsible discourse and deliberation.

Gregory Clark

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