January 29, 2017

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

Many of you have heard that on January 27, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order suspending entry into the United States for refugees for 120 days; nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days; and Syrian refugees indefinitely. Since then, multiple courts have issued emergency stays temporarily halting the removal of individuals detained after the order. It is unclear how the temporary stay will affect those in transit and it will take time for a legal resolution. We advise Amherst students, faculty and staff from the affected countries, including those who are dual citizens or have green cards, not to travel outside of the U.S. 

We have personally contacted those members of the community we believe may be directly affected, but there may be others whom we have not reached. We encourage you to share this message, and urge anyone who needs advice and counsel to let us know. Students should contact Lauren Clarke, Director of International Student Services, at 413-542-5840 or lclarke@amherst.edu; faculty and staff should contact Catherine Epstein, Dean of the Faculty, at 413-542-2334 or cepstein@amherst.edu, or Maria-Judith Rodriguez, Chief Human Resources Officer, at 413-542-2372 or mjrodriguez@amherst.edu.

We are continuing to monitor the situation and will provide updates on a webpage we created last semester in support of our undocumented students and students with DACA status. For additional information we recommend the National Immigration Law Center and American Immigration Council websites.

We value every member of this community and are committed to doing everything we can within the limits of the law to protect those who will be affected by this order. All of higher education will be weaker for the exclusion of talent and the interruption of education and careers. The society is weakened, too, in ways too numerous to mention here, among them a failure to honor founding principles and a refusal to help those whose lives are on the line through no fault of their own. I feel grief for those at risk, those whose lives have been thrown into chaos and confusion, those who have been separated from their families, those whose religion and nationality have been deemed an inherent risk, and for those in our community and in many other communities who are living with uncertainty and fear about the impact on their lives.

Biddy Martin