November 18, 2016
To all students, faculty, and staff,
As our country and our community experience uncertainty during this time of presidential transition concerning possible changes in law and the application of existing laws, I write to affirm strongly principles that are the foundation of our institution, and to declare our commitment to all members of our community regardless of their citizenship.
Faculty and students have this week asked me to assure the safety of undocumented students at Dartmouth, and to assert our resolve to increase diversity and promote inclusiveness on our campus.
Let me stress without reservation that our learning community is enriched by the diverse backgrounds of the women and men who study, teach, and work on our campus. You broaden our understanding of our world and your presence leads to the best educational outcomes for us all. Indeed, many of you have worked hard in the last year to increase diversity at Dartmouth and to make all feel welcome through our Inclusive Excellence initiative.
This commitment is not new. Dartmouth has for years been a strong supporter of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy (DACA), which protects from deportation some undocumented individuals. The College was one of the few universities to file a U.S. Supreme Court friend-of-the-court brief supporting DACA's expansion. Our admissions and financial aid policies do not consider domestic applicants' immigration status.
Once at the College, undocumented students are supported by a dedicated network of faculty and staff, including the office of pluralism and leadership, the undergraduate deans' office, and the office of visa and immigration services.
Undocumented students also receive encouragement and assistance from their peers, including the student group Dartmouth CoFIRED (Dartmouth Coalition for Immigration Reform, Equality, and DREAMers). We are proud of the persistence of CoFIRED students who worked for two years to win a national victory this past March when the Library of Congress agreed to change the way it catalogs holdings that refer to noncitizens, and to stop using the subject heading "illegal aliens." The decision came after more than two years of CoFIRED advocacy, with expert guidance from Dartmouth's library staff.
Today, I have joined other university presidents in signing a statement in support of DACA. We are calling on colleagues and other leaders across business, civic, religious, and nonprofit sectors to join us in this urgent matter. "To our country's leaders we say that DACA should be upheld, continued, and expanded," the statement says. "This is both a moral imperative and a national necessity."
I realize that at this moment, some members of our community feel vulnerable and at risk. Let me assure you that we will work within the bounds of the law to mitigate any effects on our students caused by possible revisions to DACA and other immigration policies.
Thank you to all of the faculty and staff across campus who are supporting students during what for some is a difficult time. As we work together in the final week of the fall term, please look out for one another, listen to one another, and allow the knowledge you have gained here to infuse the kindness and goodwill that you take with you during interim programs and your time at home for the holidays.
Phil Hanlon '77
Last Updated: 11/18/16