President Casey’s messages to campus about immigration executive order

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This message was written by President Brian W. Casey

The recent executive order mandating a 90-day ban on entry into the U.S. by citizens of seven nations runs counter to the mission and principles of Colgate University. Our institution is deeply engaged with scholarship across the globe and committed to the thoughtful exchange of ideas across borders. This free exchange serves the vital interests of our students and faculty, of the United States, and of humanity, while discrimination against individuals based on national origin or religion can only harm our campus, our nation, and the world.

The e-mail messages below were sent out to the campus community in the weeks before — and directly after — the executive order was signed. As these messages indicate, Colgate University remains committed to supporting all members of our campus community, and we will continue to do everything in our power to minimize the impact of changes in federal policy on our students and faculty.

January 29, 2017

Dear Faculty, Students and Staff,

On Friday President Trump issued an executive order regarding immigration from selected nations and new practices regarding border screening.  While a court order has temporarily stopped the order and these new enforcement practices, we must remain aware of the potential impact on those members of our community who are traveling and those who live and work on this campus.  We are in contact with attorneys who are experts in immigration and security policies to gain their guidance and to see how we can best support Colgate community members.  I am also in contact with staff at the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, our representative body in Washington, D.C., to see what guidance and support they can provide.

The care and support of all members of this community—regardless of religion, national origin, or immigrant status—is an essential core guiding principle for all of us.  We have reached out to those at Colgate who we believe could be affected by this new order.  If, however, you, or anyone you know, is or might be affected by this order please contact the Office of the Dean of the College, the Office of International Student Services, the Office of the Dean of the Faculty, Human Resources or my office.

As we continue to monitor this situation and continue to work with our attorneys, we will update the university community on any new methods of support or new services we can provide.

Until then, please continue to look out for one another.

Most sincerely,

Brian W Casey


January 18, 2017

Members of the Colgate Campus Community,

I write to articulate the university’s position on a matter that bears on our identity as a caring community dedicated to the well-being of all.

There have been recent calls in this country for changes in federal immigration policy. In an uncertain environment, it is important to establish some clear principles to guide us through this time. Last month, I charged a group composed of faculty members, administrators, and members of the university’s Board of Trustees to advise me on establishing a framework for the university’s position on federal immigration policy. The advisory group consisted of Constance Harsh (Interim Dean of the Faculty and Provost; Professor of English), Steve Fabiani (Vice President and Chief Information Officer), John Palmer (Associate Professor of Educational Studies; Chair of the Department of Educational Studies; Arnold A. Sio Chair in Diversity and Community; and Associate Provost for Equity and Diversity), Nicole Simpson (Professor of Economics; Associate Dean of the Faculty for International Initiatives), Kerra Hunter (Assistant Dean and Director of International Student Services) and Trustees Michael Herling ′79 and Gus Coldebella ′91. I would like to thank the group for its efforts, which have informed the preparation of this memorandum.

The federal policy environment is uncertain and we cannot foresee every eventuality. But we do know that a strong sense of community is central to who we are. Whatever may come, Colgate remains firmly dedicated to supporting the needs of every member of our campus community. We continue to believe, in the words of our Mission Statement, that successful residential education is not possible without attentiveness to “the particularities of our individual lives.” Further, “learning must serve life, and the opportunity to live together in a variety of settings encourages interpersonal exploration, expands mutual understanding, and supports a broadened perspective within a caring, humane community.”

Therefore, we are committed to the following policies and practices:

  • We do not and will not screen student applicants based on immigration status.
  • We meet, and will continue to meet, the full financial need of every enrolled student without regard to immigration status.
  • We do not and will not disclose private information about our students, faculty, or staff unless specifically required to do so by law.
  • Our Campus Safety staff does not and will not collect immigration status information from students. They have never engaged in the enforcement of immigration laws, and they will not begin to do so.
  • Our campus is private property, and we do not and will not permit unwarranted searches or investigations.

It is clear that we will need to continue considering these issues as we remain an institution that complies with federal laws and regulations across a variety of areas. It is also clear that some community members will require specific support if federal immigration policy evolves. Because of this I have charged the Offices of the Dean of the Faculty, the Dean of the College, and Human Resources to develop assistance strategies that will include programming, legal advice, and supportive outreach. I will also continue to seek counsel from members of the on-campus community, university legal counsel, and colleagues at other institutions as we continue to monitor these issues.

Thank you to those who have reached out to me with your thoughts and concerns about these issues and will continue to help guide Colgate in support of our students, faculty and staff at this time.

Most sincerely,

Brian W. Casey