Sept. 26, 2017
Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,
On Sunday the federal government issued a proclamation restricting entry into the U.S. of individuals from Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. With the exception of North Korea, the restrictions do not apply to student visas. The proclamation also allows for exceptions in various circumstances. Note that legal permanent residents of the U.S. are exempt from the ban, as are visitors with current, valid visas. Refugees are not covered by Sunday’s announcement; the White House is expected to release rules for refugees soon.
As with the original travel ban and its subsequent revisions, the new proclamation has negative consequences for colleges and universities. While there is now more latitude for exceptions, faculty and staff from the countries that were named are bound to be anxious about their options and distressed by the decision. Although students will likely be able to renew visas set to expire before graduation, anxiety on their part is inevitable as well, and students will also be concerned about family members and friends who may be unable to visit or attend campus celebrations, such as Commencement. Talented prospective students from the named countries could well decide not to apply to U.S. colleges and universities, and the country will be poorer for it. In addition, the new ban will have a negative effect on international academic collaboration and the ease with which it would otherwise occur. That the majority of people affected are Muslim is deeply troubling.
The College is eager to do what we can to support faculty, staff, and students affected by the ban. The Center for International Student Engagement has reached out to affected students to offer information and resources, and welcomes contact from additional students seeking information and support. As always, our Counseling CenterOffice of Religious & Spiritual Life, and Employee Assistance Program are ready to assist. Our website also contains resources for members of our community, including information about access to an immigration attorney. At this time, we recommend that students, faculty, and staff from the affected countries (except those who have dual-citizenship and are traveling under a passport issued by a country other than one of the eight restricted countries) consult with the college’s immigration attorney before traveling outside of the United States. Students interested in arranging a consultation should contact Hanna Bliss, Director of the Center for International Student Engagement, at 413.542.5971 or Faculty and staff needing a consultation should contact Scott Kinney of Human Resources at 413.542.5719 or
We pride ourselves on our diverse and international intellectual community—it reflects the core values of the College—and vehemently oppose the isolation or exclusion of members of our community based on their country of origin or their religious faith.