Dear Members of the Pitzer Community,

In November, the Pitzer College Board of Trustees and I declared Pitzer College to be a sanctuary college regarding immigration status, thus joining with others in the struggle to support those in our community and around the nation who are most vulnerable to new threats.

Now, in one week, President Trump has altered the American experience, and with it the vision of hope and unity previously shared by most of us. Three executive orders related to immigration, border security, refugee status under American law, and international travel, have upended our policies of openness and welcoming, which have characterized our nation. Currently, I am reviewing these actions with legal counsel and our peer institutions. I assure you that Pitzer College supports our students, faculty, and staff in responding to these troubling actions. Furthermore, Friday’s immigration ban executive order targets people from Muslim-majority countries with the practical effect of creating a religious ban against people of Muslim faith. Pitzer stands in solidarity with Muslims against these actions; this is antithetical to the core educational objectives of social justice and intercultural understanding that are the heart of Pitzer’s values.

Although currently Pitzer College does not have enrolled students from the seven countries targeted in the executive order: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, we have yet to see how the current administration’s enforcement of its order may evolve to impact others, such as those who possess dual nationality, who are legal permanent residents of the U.S., or what the status of administration and court rulings will be next week, next month or next year. For now, we advise anyone from these targeted countries  to carefully consider not traveling outside the United States until the law is clarified.

As our understanding of unfolding events deepens, we are reviewing and expanding ways to improve assistance to our community members. We are sharpening our already strong policy of keeping student personal information confidential. We are seeking ways to provide legal counsel for affected students and their families. And our newly formed Sanctuary working group convened by Associate Dean of Faculty Kathy Yep is compiling critical resource information for community members.

Events are occurring rapidly. We will continue to monitor and report on relevant developments. We ask that you remain alert for information that will help members of our community navigate these changes.

Any Pitzer students with visa status concerns should contact Todd Sasaki (Todd_Sasaki@pitzer.edu) or Michael Ballagh (Michael_Ballagh@pitzer.edu). Students feeling emotionally distraught from this situation should consult staff in OSA for referral to appropriate services.

The same year, 1963, that Pitzer College was founded, Martin Luther King observed that the measure of worth of an individual is not in how they “stand in moments of convenience and comfort” but rather where they stand “at times of challenge and controversy.”

Pitzer College has always stood as a campus that mobilizes to advance social justice for the vulnerable and to work for an inclusive society regardless of the political climate. I trust that we will continue to stand together to support each other on campus and around the world in these uncertain times.

Melvin L. Oliver
President
Pitzer College


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