December 2, 2016
To all members of the Bryn Mawr community,
Following the recent election, students, faculty, and staff on campuses across the country have expressed deep concern about the future of undocumented immigrant students in their communities. These students have been able to pursue higher education in the U.S. through the 2012 Deferred Action for Child Arrivals (DACA) program. The specific and understandable sources of worry are statements that were made by the President-elect during the campaign that he might end DACA and deport students who have been protected by it.
Bryn Mawr unequivocally supports DACA and the educational opportunities it makes possible for students here and across the country. On November 20, I joined other college and university presidents—now numbering more than 440—in signing a public statement affirming the benefits of DACA for our students, our institutions, and our communities, and calling on the new administration to continue and to expand the program. My support for DACA draws upon the College’s founding and sustained commitment to expand educational access, and Bryn Mawr’s rejection of all forms of discrimination, including those based on national origin. Undocumented students have been valuable members of our community, and have contributed and will continue to contribute their talents across professional fields. I will work with the other signers of the DACA support statement referenced above and with like-minded higher education associations to push for continuation of DACA.
On campus, Bryn Mawr will support all members of our community, and provide a secure environment in which students can pursue their education. Bryn Mawr will maintain its policy of non-discrimination in access to education and equal protection under the law, regardless of nationality or citizenship status. All of our academic programs will continue to consider applicants who are undocumented immigrants in the same way they consider U.S. citizens and permanent residents, and will not discriminate on the basis of immigration status. We will continue to meet full demonstrated financial need for undocumented students enrolled at Bryn Mawr. The College will also continue its practice of not releasing information about students’ citizenship or immigration status, unless presented with a subpoena or similar legal requirement. As is currently the case, Campus Safety will not be involved with enforcing federal immigration laws. Law enforcement officials seeking to come on campus must check in first with Campus Safety and present a warrant or other enforceable legal instrument.
I recognize that no actions we take on campus or in the higher education community can adequately address the situations of undocumented students, family members, and friends. These concerns will weigh on undocumented students and their allies. Those dealing with these stresses are encouraged to take advantage of the existing supports within our community, including counseling services, programs offered by the Pensby Center, and staff of the Dean’s Office. We are also exploring connections to local legal organizations that might be able to provide pro bono assistance for students.
We do not yet know what policies and practices will be followed by the incoming administration, and once proposed, they may well evolve. We will work with all members of the community—students, faculty, and staff—to address challenges and changes as they emerge, and we affirm our commitment to maintaining an inclusive community.