Dear Barnard Community,
On Monday, the Trump Administration issued an executive order that, among other things, temporarily restricts certain foreign nationals from six Muslim-majority countries from entry into the United States. This order revises the original executive order issued on January 27, 2017, that banned immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The March 6 order attempts to address some of the problems in the original, and several states are challenging the revised order in court. That said, the approach outlined in the new executive order remains antithetical to the basic values of this community, which honor diversity, freedom of religion, and the contributions that immigrants make every day to strengthen our society. In a recent message, President Bollinger stated that the new order “remains deeply disturbing.” On Monday, Barnard’s faculty unanimously passed a resolution condemning the executive order and “possible future ones that are similarly discriminatory to morality, domestic and international law, the mission of higher education, and the finest humanitarian traditions of the United States”: https://www.barnard.edu/news/faculty-response-president-trumps-new-executive-order-refugees-and-immigration/
These recent statements follow on our public expressions of deep concern about the January 27 executive order and its impact. On January 29, President Spar noted in a letter to the community that the “tone and direction of the order feel both chilling and personal, signaling a fundamental change in how this nation operates, and what it holds dear.” On February 1, she signed a letter sponsored by the American Council on Education to the Secretary of Homeland Security expressing concern about the executive order and asserting the valuable roles of international students, faculty, researchers and staff on our campuses. On February 2 she joined 47 other college and university presidents in calling on President Trump to rescind the order, noting that it “threatens both American higher education and the defining principles of our country.”
As President Spar wrote, this is not a time “to stand idly by, but to do whatever we can to be part of our country and our community and to help shape the world we want to see.” In this spirit, in the coming days and weeks, Provost Linda Bell, Dean of the College Avis Hinkson and I will engage in a dialogue with faculty, students, and staff to determine the best ways Barnard can respond to these and perhaps future such orders. At the same time we are actively considering the types of legal and non-legal assistance the College may provide for members of our community. The following web page contains information and links to resources for members of our community who may be affected by the March 6 executive order: https://barnard.edu/info/immigration-resources/
The issues that we are collectively confronting are challenging. We are committed to doing all that we can to support all members of our community, stay true to our values, and be transparent in how we navigate these difficult waters.
Interim President and COO