Dear Members of the Syracuse University Community: Over the last several months, hundreds of students, faculty, staff, administrators and trustees have engaged in constructive, collaborative and respectful dialogue. The Board of Trustees created a Special Committee on University Climate, Diversity…
Message to the Community from Chancellor Syverud
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
The United States government on Friday issued several executive orders. It is important for Syracuse University to reaffirm some of its key values that are implicated by these orders—and for the University to specify how it will support those affected by changing immigration laws.
Syracuse University is built upon a deep sense of an inclusive community—a community that embraces all of its members irrespective of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, veteran-military status, and political views.
Once a person becomes a member of our community—whether by being enrolled as a student, hired as a staff member, or appointed to our faculty—our University should stand behind that person, and should do everything it reasonably can to support that person’s success. This is true regardless of a person’s citizenship or religion. This is true when a student becomes ill, when a staff member needs to go on active duty for our National Guard, and when a faculty member faces difficulties while traveling here or abroad. This is emphatically also true when a member of our community is caught up in changing immigration laws.
The new executive orders may affect many of our faculty, students, and staff. We are an international research university. The teaching, learning, and discovery that we do every day involves people from more than 150 countries—and it occurs at Syracuse University programs and facilities across the United States and around the world. Our work and our contributions are made possible by people from everywhere, including the seven countries specifically identified in the executive orders. There are many people from Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Syria, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia and other countries who are Orange—who are Syracuse people. Today, it is their turn to see that we support them. Please help me in this.
1. Many employees of the University have been working nonstop since Friday to identify members of our community who may be affected so that we can render appropriate counsel and assistance. If you or a colleague are aware of someone in this position, please encourage them to seek assistance, in the first instance, directly from Margaret Himley, Associate Provost, International Education and Engagement, at 315.443.3471 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. We are working with our government representatives to express our concern about the effect of the executive orders, and other possible changes in immigration laws, on the ability of American universities, including Syracuse, to help America succeed in global competition for higher education, research, and discovery. Like many others, we are seeking clarity on the exact implementation of these and other changes. Until there is greater clarity, I urge Syracuse people who are from the seven countries specified in the executive orders to consult Jennifer Gavilondo, Associate General Counsel for International Services, at 315.443.9732 or email@example.com, before traveling outside the United States.
3. Our University has long provided various forms of assistance to our students who, for no fault of their own, are unable to travel to Syracuse to complete their studies during a semester or for a degree. Technology has enabled this assistance to improve in recent years. I have asked Provost Michele Wheatly, working with the deans and faculties and University Senate, to promptly evaluate and report on how we can improve our responsiveness on this score to students impacted by changing immigration laws. To the extent improvements may require approvals from academic or regulatory bodies, I ask that we consider doing the work now to obtain the approvals, consistent with the principle that we care about all our people. I hope our community will support us in modeling the best practices in the country for enabling our students to complete their studies.
4. Students and faculty, including our Graduate Student Organization, have asked for clarity on the University’s policies regarding inquiries from outside the University about individual immigration status and federal immigration investigations. In a message sent today, Senior Vice President and Chief Law Enforcement Officer Anthony Callisto has provided the information about how our University DPS handles these matters.
Every day, I am inspired on this campus by the talent, hard work, and decency I see manifested by our faculty, students, staff, and alumni. Let’s keep it up now more than ever.
Chancellor Kent Syverud