Dear Chatham Community,
On Friday, the Trump administration signed an executive order on immigration that (among other things) suspended the entry of citizens from seven countries—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen—to the United States for at least the next 90 days. Over the weekend, the effects of this order were immediately felt with individuals and families being prevented from boarding flights, denied entry at airports, and stranded abroad.
While the order has already been challenged in court, we remain acutely aware of its potential impact on members of our community, and I have directed our Office of International Affairs (OIA) to reach out to affected students and faculty in order to provide assistance. I also encourage anyone planning to travel outside of the US from one of the affected countries to contact OIA before making any travel plans.
Our country was founded as a nation of immigrants, and embracing global education and “respect for diversity of culture” is a core part of Chatham’s mission. I join with the many other leaders of higher education, business and technology companies, and religious denominations who have questioned this decision and signal our support for the value that international students, faculty, and visitors have brought to our communities. We share the desire for our country to develop an immigration policy that balances protecting national security while avoiding discrimination against individuals and harming our nation’s industries, including higher education. In fact, Canada, this year’s Global Focus country, has embraced such a policy, and I hope that our students and faculty are able to delve into this as part of the North American Higher Education Forum we will be hosting in April of this year.
As we look for positive ways forward, I encourage our students, faculty and staff to embrace another core part of Chatham’s mission: to be “informed and engaged citizen in one’s communities.” There are so many issues where we can and already are having a positive impact. Whether by learning more on the issues, volunteering, building community partnerships, or working together to advocate for policy changes, we can make a difference working together. Whatever your opinion or however you choose to get involved, let us all do so in the spirit of the shared values that drive our University.
We will continue to monitor closely this rapidly evolving situation and do all we can to keep people informed and to support all members of the Chatham community.