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Earlham responds to U.S. executive order on immigration, refugees

January 29, 2017

The following is a message to the Earlham community from President David Dawson in response to a U.S. executive order on immigration and refugees.

On Friday, January 27, 2017, U.S. President Trump signed an executive order that suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. (The full scope of the executive order could be wider depending on how it comes to be interpreted by government or courts, but this is our current understanding of its principal impact).

This action disrespects the fundamental values essential to Earlham’s character, identity and our basic human values of ethical caring and responsibility and will have harmful consequences for many persons, including many students enrolled at colleges and universities.

Drawing on our institutional statement of values, Principles and Practices, we can make this clear:

  • Earlham College affirms respect for persons; this executive order fundamentally disrespects persons.
  • Earlham College affirms community; this executive order undermines community.
  • Earlham College affirms integrity; this executive order operates as though the persons it targets do not deserve the same presumption and affirmation of integrity extended to others.
  • Earlham College affirms peace and justice; this executive order is blatantly unjust in its unfair targeting of individuals and violent in the profoundly uncaring and demeaning manner in which it pursues its aims.

As we indicated earlier in the year in response to action threatened against students in the DACA program, we once again affirm Earlham College’s support for all Earlham students regardless of national origin or immigration status. We are deeply supportive of fostering an overall environment of mutual comfort and support and community solidarity.

As its most immediate response, Earlham College will arrange for legal assistance for any Earlham students who are unable to return to campus as a result of this executive order. Through the Center for Global Education, we are reaching out to students who may be affected.

In addition, I want to reiterate some important points made in my letter of last semester concerning how the College will continue to protect and care for its community members.

Earlham will continue to follow our current policy of requiring a warrant before accommodating the actions of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, or other local, state or federal law enforcement authorities, on campus.

Earlham will continue to protect student and employee privacy to the fullest extent under the law. Community members who may be approached for information concerning the immigration status of individuals or any other such information are under no legal obligation to comply with that request and should refer the questioner to the Earlham Center for Global Education or to the Earlham Office of Human Resources.

If students or employees have concerns or questions or are in need of particular kinds of support in the wake of this executive order, or any other immigration-related concern, we urge them to contact the College’s Center for Global Education. This office stands ready to assist and/or make necessary referrals for resources and support with full respect for confidentiality and all available protection of privacy.

We do not yet know to what extent this executive order will survive legal examination, or the details of its implementation, or all the ways it may produce consequences that we may be called upon to try to mitigate, but along with the higher education community we will continue to study the executive order and its potential consequences.

The College will continue to monitor developments and respond as appropriate.

— EC —

Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. Earlham is also ranked among U.S. News and World Reports' best value colleges.

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and zimmebr@earlham.edu.


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