February 7, 2017

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Since November 2016, and especially over the past 10 days, Amherst College has taken a number of actions to help students and others in the campus community address concerns and uncertainty about the government’sattempts to limit immigration. Given the rapid pace of events and wide-ranging efforts we have undertaken, we want to take this opportunity to provide, in one document, a clear, simple summary of our key initiatives and resources, several of which we are announcing for the first time. We offer this list for your reference in case you should need help or support. If, after reading this list, you have any questions or suggestions, please contact odei@amherst.edu or 413-542-5822.

 To summarize, the College offers the following important resources and initiatives:

 Emergency resources

  • A 24/7 connection to a counselor by calling 413-542-2354.
  • A 24/7 on-call College administrator who can be reached by calling the Amherst College Police Department at 413-542-2111.

Legal assistance

  • Individual appointments with Dan Berger, an attorney specializing in immigration law, who can be reached by contacting the College’s general counsel atlrutherford@amherst.edu.
  • Payment for legal services for affected students. 

Information resources

  • A dedicated, monitored email address, internationalstudents@amherst.edu, for any international student needing information, time-sensitive consultation or other support. The chief diversity and inclusion officer will immediately notify the necessary party to provide assistance.
  • A system for monitoring developments in Washington and elsewhere in the U.S. in order to stay abreast of changes in governmental actions and policy. That information will be placed in the green alert box on the College’s home page and Immigration Updates and Resources page.
  • As emphasized last November, updates, when appropriate, to the College’s list of existing services and policies of direct interest to international students.

Center for International Student Engagement

  • Reorganization of the Center for International Student Engagement under the Office of Diversity & Inclusion to enable the College to monitor more closely developments in immigration law and enforcement, inform and help members of the community who are directly affected by those developments, and provide coordinated services and support for international students in general.
  • Relocation of the Center for International Student Engagement to Keefe Campus Center as of Feb. 8. Rebecca Counter, coordinator for international student services, will have a desk in the space dedicated to the Center for Community Engagement/Study Abroad.
  • Appointment of a new director of international student services. An expert will be hired immediately on a temporary basis while the search for a permanent director is conducted. We are in the process of convening a search committee for the new director.
  • Efforts to gather student input on how we can strengthen the reorganized office and its services. A town hall meeting will be held at the beginning of March so that students can play a role in the design of the international student services function.

Dedicated space for international students

  • Room 203 in the Keefe Campus Center will be a private, confidential space where students may hold one-on-one meetings with College staff and/or outside legal experts. The space will be managed by the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. Please email diversityandinclusion@amherst.edu to reserve the space.
  • For group discussions and community meetings among international students, a space in the Center for Community Engagement, to be established by Feb. 8. 

To echo what President Martin has expressed on a number of occasions: Amherst is committed to providing any resource or service we legally can to protect the well-being of students who are affected or may be affected by the government’s immigration actions. We are always open to suggestions and comments about what we are providing and what more could be done. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office for more assistance.

In community,

Norm Jones
Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer