President Trump’s controversial executive orders on border security and immigration enforcement provoke great uncertainty and fear for many members of our community in direct and subtle ways.
The orders are both unethical and dangerous. They are antithetical to core American principles and in opposition to central tenets that guide virtually all liberal arts colleges, most certainly Beloit College.
I stand strongly in agreement with the statement you received last Friday (and signed by many in this community) upholding a commitment to the exchange of ideas and people with other countries and condemning xenophobia, racism, and anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions. President Trump’s executive order, if implemented in ways he apparently aspires, runs the risk of depriving us of voices and bodies that enrich us all intellectually, emotionally, and economically.
While we cannot control the Federal Government, we can try to clarify the college’s position about how we intend to support our international students. And as the future of DACA is unclear, we also want to make clear our commitment to support undocumented students.
Beloit College will continue:
- to promote the essential importance of equity and inclusion in achieving our liberal arts mission;
- to welcome students in a non-discriminatory manner no matter their race, citizenship, immigration status, or religion;
- to support and protect students without regard for their immigration status. This includes,
- for students with F or J status, requiring a subpoena or judicial order from the Department of Homeland Security for information beyond confirmation of immigration status compliance for students (e.g., confirmation that they are enrolled full time);
- requiring a subpoena or judicial order from local, state or federal law enforcement authorities, on campus;
- protecting student privacy to the fullest extent under the law;
- to support the BRIDGE Act, which would allow people who are eligible for or who have received work authorization and temporary relief from deportation through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to continue living in the U.S. with permission from the federal government.
More broadly, Beloit College will continue
- to resist racism, misogyny, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and xenophobia;
- to maintain a strong program of study abroad;
- to engage positively and constructively with partner universities abroad
As I write this, there is much uncertainty what President Trump’s executive orders specifically mean and what legislation will follow. Many of you will have concerns and questions. The following Beloit offices are particularly well equipped to provide support:
- Office of International Education
- Office of Academic Diversity and Inclusion
- Office of Inclusive Living and Learning
- Office of Spiritual Life
We will be monitoring legislation to the extent we can as it moves forward in Washington or Madison and will provide updates as they unfold. In the meantime, I recommend you attend the Q&A on immigration and refugees, Friday, February 3, 12:30 p.m. in Moore Lounge. Also, sources for legal updates include the National Immigration Law Center and NAFSA. OADI has organized a #GetWoke:Know Your Rights special session for Monday, February 6 at 7 p.m. in Moore Study Lounge. Beloit alumnus Max Suchen (‘10), a practicing criminal defense attorney in Chicago, will lead this session on fully understanding the status of citizens, permanent residents, and/or visa holders.
With every step Beloit College has taken over its 172 years to welcome students from around the world, from different cultures, with different faiths, with different ways of knowing, we have stepped closer and closer to realizing our mission. It is with this reminder that I am additionally resolved to champion the glory of the international community and international education that is Beloit College.
President Scott Bierman