Dear Chatham Community,
At the end of the fall semester, I received a letter signed by 76 members of our Chatham faculty & staff community, in support of an earlier student march, asking Chatham’s Board of Trustees to explore and consider designating Chatham a Sanctuary Campus. Since these requests were received, the President’s Cabinet has been researching and discussing this issue with the intention to present our findings for consideration by the Board of Trustees at its February Board meeting.
In the meantime, I have directed the administration and staff to reach out to any undocumented or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) students in the Chatham campus community to ensure that are appraised of their rights and obligations under current federal and state laws; to reiterate the many ways in which Chatham supports them within the framework that those laws and campus policies currently provide; and to provide such support and counseling as they may need in light of the uncertain nature of their situation.
I also would like you to know that Chatham has joined close to 600 college and universities that have signed a letter, originated by Pomona College, signaling our support for continuing to educate students (i.e., “Dreamers”) covered under the DACA policy. I have also joined other Pennsylvania college and university presidents in urging US Senators Toomey and Casey to support the BRIDGE act, bipartisan legislation (introduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R), Dick Durbin (D), Lisa Murkowski (R), and Dianne Feinstein (D)) that would allow for “provisional protected status” and a reprieve from deportation proceedings for many children brought to the United States by their parents.
I will be back in touch after the Board meeting with a response on this important issue. Until then, I wish each of you the very best for a new year and a new academic semester.
David Finegold, DPhil