MESSAGES TO THE CAMPUS COMMUNITY

January 30, 2017

Dear Members of the Hobart and William Smith Community,

Like many of you, I read with grave concern President Trump's Executive Order banning citizens of seven countries from entering the United States for the next 90 days. As this is an evolving situation and several Courts have already acted to halt enforcement pending further analysis, we are carefully monitoring this deeply troubling situation and seeking counsel from experts. As an institution that educates students to be global citizens and as a campus community with strong international affiliations, this Executive Order has understandably caused stress and anxiety for many of our students, faculty and staff. I write to offer my reflections, to update the campus community on the Colleges' policies and support, and to outline the actions we have taken to date.

Hobart and William Smith have a long and proud history of enrolling international students and employing international faculty and staff. As a matter of policy and practice, our actions related to immigration status are consistent with our non-discrimination policy and our commitment to safeguarding the privacy of all community members. To be clear, the Colleges do not track or maintain a list of students who may be undocumented. The Colleges require warrants and subpoenas from law enforcement seeking access to student and employee records or access to campus buildings for non-emergency circumstances. Our Campus Safety Officers have no responsibility or authority to enforce U.S. immigration law, nor can they detain anyone based solely on immigration status.

In anticipation of an Executive Order like this one, in November I signed a statement to our nation's leaders authored by Pomona College President David Oxtoby and endorsed by more than 600 college and university presidents to uphold, continue and expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA") program. The full text of the letter, some background and its signatories can be found here. Similarly, I signed an open letter to then President-elect Trump, joining nearly 200 presidents asking him to condemn and take a forceful stand against the harassment, hate and acts of violence we have seen perpetrated across our nation.

This weekend, I have been in touch with the leadership of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities and the New York Six to explore possible collaborations on a shared approach to the Executive Order. Today I will be reaching out to Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY) to discuss my concerns and urging him to consider the far-reaching consequences of such action.

I have asked Provost Titi Ufomata and Vice President for Student Affairs Robb Flowers to reach out to all students and community members to offer support and resources. Most immediately, students or employees of the Colleges on visas that hail from the nations implicated by the Executive Order and that require legal guidance may reach out to Louis Guard, Chief of Staff and Counsel, at (315) 781-3065.

Finally, Chaplain Maurice Charles is organizing an interfaith meeting on Wednesday evening for community members to gather in dialogue and prayer, the first of many gatherings that will happen in the coming days and weeks. Details to follow.

As we continue to closely monitor this matter, let us take advantage of our special community at Hobart and William Smith - support one another, continue to stay informed and learn together.

Sincerely,

Mark D. Gearan
President

 

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Geneva, NY 14456
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