President Lash's statement in response to recent executive orders issued by the White House regarding immigration enforcement and national security
Over the past few days, I have spoken with community members concerned about the recent executive orders issued by the White House regarding immigration enforcement and national security. I too am dismayed and worried, both for the safety of individuals who may be caught up in these directives and by the anti-immigrant directions in which they propel the United States.
Hampshire is a mission-driven institution, and among our values as a community of inquiry is to embrace diversity in all its forms. We are profoundly enriched by international voices and experiences on our campus -- intellectually, culturally, and morally. We have always encouraged our students to take advantage of opportunities that promote global awareness and insight, and have invited international students and employees to strengthen our curriculum and understanding. We are greatly diminished by actions that seek to discriminate against and demonize others. As an institution, Hampshire must adhere to legal boundaries, but to the extent possible it is incumbent on all of us to support and protect our colleagues and classmates who are at risk. This is a time that calls for openness, integrity, and compassion.
The executive order issued Friday imposes a 90-day ban on entry to the United States by citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Accordingly, we advise students, faculty, and staff from the affected countries to not travel outside the U.S. The order specifically calls for inclusion of other nations into the ban after a 60-day review period, so citizens from other Middle Eastern nations or nations with significant Muslim populations are also advised to not travel outside the U.S.
Currently we are not aware of any Hampshire students affected by the ban. Students who are concerned about their status should be in contact with the Office of Multicultural and International Student Services. Faculty and staff should direct any questions to the Dean of Faculty Office.
For now, it remains unclear how these directives will be implemented and what their implications for colleges and universities may be. We are seeking guidance from counsel and immigration specialists and conferring with colleagues at the Five Colleges. We will continue to monitor the situation and will provide updates as we have more information.
Below is the message I sent in November, which provides more context about Hampshire's values, information about Hampshire's policies, and describes some of the resources available to members of our community.
Distributed to the Hampshire Campus on November 21, 2016:
In the current political climate, many in our college community are deeply concerned about the treatment of undocumented and international students and employees and the possibility of their detention and deportation. Many towns and cities across the United States have become sanctuary cities. Following this precedent, concerned citizens have petitioned colleges and universities, including Hampshire College, to become sanctuary campuses for the protection of students and employees. These petitions vary on what it means to be a sanctuary campus but, at heart, each calls for institutions to protect their community members in these uncertain times. We at Hampshire College share these concerns and we will continue to commit our efforts to protect and support all members of our community, especially those who are undocumented or are otherwise vulnerable to federal immigration action.
We all benefit tremendously from being an international community of students, faculty, staff, and alums. In the wake of the election, hate-based and discriminatory incidents of harassment and violence are on the rise. Such behaviors have no place at Hampshire College and will not be tolerated.
Ensuring equal access to education is among Hampshire's deepest commitments. We are unwavering in our efforts to recruit and sustain a diverse student body, including international and undocumented students. In this spirit, four years ago the College established a dedicated scholarship fund to support undocumented students, and we are continuing to prioritize fundraising for this purpose, as well as for the Baldwin Scholars Program and other scholarships. We assist international students and students facing immigration challenges by providing efficient and accurate immigration advising, identifying alums and others willing to provide legal assistance, contacting local, state, and federal officials on their behalf, and on occasion providing emergency funding.
Students' education records are protected from unauthorized disclosure by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Students who are concerned about the privacy of their education records and directory information can find out more on the Central Records webpage: https://www.hampshire.edu/central-records/privacy-of-recordsferpa.
Hampshire's police department does not gather information about the citizenship or immigration status of our students, faculty, and staff. The College will not voluntarily cooperate with efforts to facilitate a person's detention by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Similarly, we will not voluntarily release information about someone's immigration status. These are our current practices, and we pledge to continue them.
We support the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and I am adding my name to the list of college presidents advocating for its continuation. It is not clear what kinds of laws or orders may be adopted going forward, and therefore legal counsel recommends that undocumented students and employees who are DACA recipients explore other immigration status options in anticipation of the potential termination of that program. Here are two websites that offer additional information:
In the coming months we will monitor changes in laws that may have an impact on our community members and we will continue to collect and disseminate information about our options. In particular, we are discussing strategies with our international students and employees, with peers in the Five Colleges and elsewhere, and with legal counsel. The more we can unify and coordinate our efforts across campuses, the more successful we will be at ensuring protection for all.
We are proud to be part of a passionate community that is committed to advancing security, dignity, and human rights for all, regardless of citizenship status.