Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
As we begin the second semester, our country, our community, and Oberlin’s campus are facing unprecedented and disturbing developments in national politics and international relations. Like so many of you, I am deeply concerned by the President’s executive order banning or freezing immigration from seven predominantly Muslim nations. Oberlin has a long and proud history of embracing diversity, inclusion, freedom of religion, and internationalism. The ban is antithetical to those enduring core values which are embodied in our mission statement:
“The mission of Oberlin College and Conservatory is to educate students for lives of intellectual, musical and artistic rigor and breadth, sustained inquiry, creativity and innovation, and leadership. Oberlin aims to prepare graduates with the knowledge, skills, and perspectives essential to confront complex issues and to create change and value in the world. Oberlin is committed to educational access and opportunity. It seeks to offer a diverse and inclusive residential learning environment encouraging a free and respectful exchange of ideas and shares an enduring commitment to a sustainable and just society.”
Focusing on Oberlin’s mission in these turbulent times will be challenging. That is why it is more important than ever that we remain true to our shared values as a college, a community, and a nation. In response to the ban, we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of all members of our community regardless of immigration status or national origin. We are in communication with students, faculty, and staff who may be affected by the executive order and we are continuing to monitor this issue closely. In addition to our campus-wide systems for responding to emergent matters, we have instituted mechanisms to monitor legal and policy developments at the national, state, and local levels via our professional associations, peer cohorts, and national advocacy organizations. Here is a useful link providing some insight into the situation facing institutions of higher education.
We are vigilantly scrutinizing how these legal and policy changes might affect our campus community members, including and especially our international and undocumented students.
Because of the fluid legal situation and the tremendous uncertainty surrounding the precise direction of national policy relating to immigration, we are pursuing the following strategies:
We are actively considering possible responses to scenarios involving potentially targeted campus community members.
We are reinforcing clear communications among campus offices to ensure a consistent institutional approach.
We are seeking guidance from national organizations that are closely tracking legal and policy developments and will ensure that institutional decisions are informed by that input.
We are monitoring policy and regulatory developments that could affect institutional or individual access to federal funds, as this has already been raised by the new administration in relation to sanctuary cities and DACA.
We will write again with updates as this situation unfolds.