College statement regarding Executive Order on Immigration

January 30, 2017

Dear Carleton Students, Faculty, and Staff,

I am sure that Carleton faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other members of our community have been closely following and trying to understand the likely impact of the Executive Order issued by President Trump last Friday announcing significant changes to immigration policy, including blocking entry to the United States for citizens of seven countries and significantly restricting refugees from entering the U.S. I know that many members of our community—myself included—care deeply about the people who are or will be affected by this executive action and are worried about its likely impact. This Executive Order is currently being challenged in the courts and is already the subject of protests and denunciations across the globe. The situation is highly fluid, and it is not clear how and when these disputes will be resolved. It is difficult to deal with this sense of shock and disruption, and I share the concerns that these circumstances have engendered. We have been in touch with Carleton’s attorneys, and with their help and the assistance of national higher education organizations, we will continue to closely monitor the evolving rules and regulations regarding immigration and visa entry.

What we do know, despite these uncertainties, is that our first priority is and must continue to be supporting members of our community who are or who may be impacted by this executive action. To our knowledge, Carleton does not currently have faculty or staff who have sole citizenship from Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, or Yemen, nor do we have students or faculty on off-campus studies programs in these countries. We do have at least one student who is a citizen of one the named countries. The Dean of Students and the Office of Intercultural and International Life have already reached out to this student to offer support and guidance. We will do the same for any other affected students of whom we become aware. We do not know whether any community members hold dual citizenship with any of the proscribed nations, or whether dual citizenship might furnish additional legal protections or be a complication. It is important to note that Carleton does not and will not provide the immigration status on any student, faculty, or staff member to anyone except when specifically required to do so by law.

Beyond the formal members of our community whose citizenship makes them targets of the new immigration restrictions, we know that many Carleton faculty, staff, and students have friends and family whose lives are impacted by this Executive Order. Many of us are also very concerned that these initial restrictions might be expanded. If anyone in our community has questions about immigration issues or would like additional support in coping with related concerns, you are encouraged to contact the following resources:

Students: Office of the Dean of Students (507-222-4075), the Office of Intercultural and International Life (507-222-4014), and Student Health and Counseling (507-222-4080).

Faculty: Office of the Dean of the College (507-222-4303)

Staff: Human Resources (507-222-7471)

Should we learn that any Carleton student, faculty, or staff member is stranded in the United States by virtue of this executive action, we will work with such individuals to provide housing and other necessary support. We also stand ready to connect such individuals with proper legal representation to help them navigate these murky shoals.

Despite the swirling political winds, there are core values to which Carleton subscribes. These do not change:

  • Our commitment to international education remains unwavering.
  • We have students, faculty, and staff at Carleton from around the world, and we are deeply committed to continuing to welcome these individuals into the fabric of Carleton. They are wanted and valued here.
  • We also strongly encourage all our students to go out into the broader world to live and study, and we expect that when they do so, they can safely return to the United States.
  • We actively recruit faculty and students from across the globe. We intend to keep doing this.
  • Our commitment is resolute to welcome and treat all people with dignity and respect, regardless of their religion, national origin, or citizenship. We steadfastly oppose discrimination on these grounds, as well as on other grounds detailed in College policies.
  • We believe that academic freedom and the pursuit of knowledge are enhanced by the free flow of ideas and scholars across international borders. Therefore, we shall continue to act consistently with this goal.

These values are guiding stars by which Carleton seeks to accomplish its education mission, and of how we support one another in our community. That will continue to be the case for our College.

Steven G. Poskanzer