January 30, 2017

Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,

An executive order signed by President Trump on Friday imposes limits on the entry into the United States of both refugees and nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for the next three to four months. In the time since its signing, the order has caused widespread confusion and concern, and heightened anxieties about the status of our international students, faculty, and staff on our own campus. I am writing to advise you of the steps we have taken and the resources available during this uncertain time.

Our deans have been reaching out to students, faculty, and staff from the affected countries to offer support. Until more is known, the College advises anyone from the targeted regions not to travel outside of the United States. Students who are planning international travel, or international students who have concerns about their visa status, should be in touch with Carmela Patton, associate dean of the College and international student adviser (cpatton@conncoll.edu). Faculty in the same circumstances should speak with Abby Van Slyck, dean of the faculty (aavan@conncoll.edu), and staff should be in touch with Cheryl Miller, assistant vice president for human resources & professional development (cmiller5@conncoll.edu).

Additional support is available, as always, through our professional counseling staff, our chaplains, and through the College’s Employee Assistance Program. In addition, four opportunities for campuswide discussion have been planned for the coming week:

Monday, Jan. 30

Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion John McKnight will be available for individual and group conversation, 5-7 p.m., Unity House.

Tuesday, Jan. 31

Lunch with the deans: Victor Arcelus, John McKnight, Jefferson Singer, and Abby Van Slyck will be joined by Michael Doyle from the New London Immigration Advocacy & Support Center, noon-2 p.m., Unity House.

Thursday, Feb. 2

"#NoWallNoBan: What is the ban? Whom does it affect? Why should you care?" Program led by Eileen Kane, associate professor of history and director of the Global Islamic Studies Program; Tristan Borer, professor of government and international relations and chair of the Committee on Refugee Relief and Education; and Sunil Bhatia, professor of human development, 4:30 p.m., 1941 Room, Crozier-Williams.

Saturday, Feb. 4

"Salam Neighbor," a film screening and Q&A presented by the Committee on Refugee Relief and Education, 7 p.m., Evans Hall.

Our community of learning is immeasurably strengthened by the diversity of cultural, religious, and political perspectives brought by our international students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The College is, in turn, diminished when this breadth of knowledge is threatened. The founding values of Connecticut College are based on a commitment to basic human rights and the expansive possibilities of liberal education. These challenging times call for a recommitment to those values. We will continue to do everything we can to sustain the vibrancy and freedom of our educational community.

Katherine Bergeron