February 11, 2017
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:
Many of you have read or heard about the waves of deportation raids and detentions in various parts of the country. According to government officials, the actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) are routine and do not represent an escalation in scale or tempo. Whether or not that is accurate, we know that in the current environment these raids are bound to intensify the anxiety felt by people who are or who could be affected—directly or indirectly. They increase the anxiety, too, of everyone who worries that changes in immigration policy and enforcement may threaten principles on which our college and country depend. That is why I reiterate an unyielding commitment that Amherst will do everything we can using the fullest extent of the law to protect members of our community who could be affected by changes in immigration policy and enforcement and to be a relentless voice in opposition to the threats faced by members of our community.
Today our Chief Student Affairs Officer, Suzanne Coffey, made contact with individual students who have identified as undocumented or as having DACA status. She notified them of several resources that her office immediately made available to them and she called their attention to the College’s website for Undocumented and DACAmented Students. There are members of the student affairs staff who stand ready to meet with students and provide information and support this weekend and beyond. I have also asked Lisa Rutherford, our Chief Policy Officer and General Counsel, to work with the Office of Human Resources to ensure that staff are aware of resources available to them, and have asked Catherine Epstein, the Dean of the Faculty, to do the same for those who teach here.
On a different but related issue, there is updated information on the federal court’s refusal to reinstate President Trump’s travel ban available on our website. I also refer you to the letter of this past week from our Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Norm Jones, summarizing the resources available at the College, including up-to-date information, legal services, counseling, and emergency assistance. Norm has reached out to the students affected by the travel ban this weekend.
I am traveling for the College. My colleagues are planning a gathering for tomorrow or Monday that will make information and support available to those who are directly or indirectly affected by the most recent in a line of disturbing developments. More information will be forthcoming from the Dean of the Faculty. I hope you will join.