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Skidmore College
Office of the President

Immigration and the Skidmore community

January 29, 2017
by PRESIDENT PHILIP A. GLOTZBACH

Dear Members of the Skidmore Community,

Many of us have been following the recent decisions and executive orders emerging from the Trump Administration that sharply restrict both immigration and border entry for persons from a number of Muslim-majority countries and suspend the refugee program for 120 days. Several other related legal developments subsequently have occurred, and this remains a dynamic and evolving situation.

Currently, a significant contingent of Skidmore students, faculty, and staff come from scores of countries around the world, some of them from regions directly affected by these executive orders. But these political developments touch all of us either directly or indirectly.

As we await further decisions and developments, let me reaffirm our pertinent institutional values:

  • We reaffirm Skidmore’s membership in the international community of scholars, educators, and students within colleges and universities across our nation and throughout the world. It is our priority to foster in our students, as fundamental aspects of their liberal education, both intercultural awareness and global understanding. We actively recruit students from across the world, and we actively encourage all of our students to study abroad. It is clear that educated persons today must understand the myriad ways the countries and peoples of the world are increasingly interconnected and share a basic humanity, interrelated interests, and ultimately a common fate.

  • As our current Strategic Plan makes clear, Skidmore is also deeply committed to fostering inclusive excellence—affirming that our diversity makes us a stronger, more vibrant, and more creative community, provided we enable everyone to participate fully in our shared enterprise. Our international students are a key part of this vitality.

  • We have long been committed to policies of nondiscrimination on the basis of race, religion, or national origin. We do not discriminate in staff and faculty employment or student Admissions or any other area based on a student’s immigration status. We comply with relevant legal requirements, but we do not otherwise seek or disseminate information about our students’ immigration status, and we strive to protect the privacy of all our students.

  • In times of difficulty, the Skidmore community comes together to support one another and to reach out, especially to members who are in distress. This is a moment when we need to show solidarity with all our international students, faculty members, and staff members—especially those from countries affected by these recent developments. Personal expressions of care and concern can go a long way to reassure people that they are valued and, above all, that they are not alone.

Going forward, we will continue to closely monitor developments in national policy and their legal implications for the College. I am currently in Washington, D.C., attending the annual meeting of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). I will speak to staff members at NAICU and directly with some of our federal legislators and their staffs to learn more about what we can do, and I will share this information with you.

For any community member who would like to discuss this further, please consider reaching out to the following offices: Dean of the Faculty, Dean of Students, Human Resources, Religious and Spiritual Life, Off Campus Study & Exchanges, Student Academic Services, and the Counseling Center.

This is an important time for all of us to listen to one another with compassion, seek understanding, and speak with respect for the multiplicity of beliefs and perspectives that characterizes a liberal arts college worthy of that title.

Related


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