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Statement on recent Executive Orders

01.31.17
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Dear Members of the College Community,

This afternoon I returned from a meeting of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.  Our meeting these past several days was centered around the belief that diversity embodies inclusion and how this then leads to a requirement for “radical hospitality” on our campuses.  As you might imagine, several of the executive orders, released as this meeting was in progress offer a direct challenge to this belief.  The Association released the following statement which was signed by many college presidents, including myself:

"As the voice of Catholic higher education, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities expresses its strong opposition to the executive order signed by President Donald J. Trump concerning U.S. immigration policy. We stand in solidarity with other Catholic and higher education organizations that recognize the moral obligation of our country to assist migrants, particularly those who are fleeing any kind of persecution."

 

Saint Michael’s has been educating, and learning from, individuals from other countries since our founding in 1904. Our College would not exist without the bravery and commitment of our Edmundite fathers who fled France following religious persecution in the 19th century.  Indeed a signature program of the College, now embodied in the Applied Linguistic Department, can trace its origins to an influx of refugees 60 years ago.   We realize that recent Presidential executive orders have been the cause of tension and anxiety for many in our extended community.  As mentioned in an earlier communication from Vice Presidents Ellinwood and New, we have, and will continue to, support members of our community from all countries regardless of their faith, including those students abroad, because we know that we are stronger because of them.  Honoring the dignity of each human person is our most fundamental tenet as a College.

Know that we will continue to monitor these important issues and respond appropriately. I encourage students, faculty or staff affected by this Executive Order to reach out with concerns to the appropriate campus resource listed below.

Yours sincerely,

John J Neuhauser
President

Campus Resources:

Human Resources: Mike New mnew@smcvt.edu  Tina Tenney ttenney@smcvt.edu

Student Affairs: Dawn Ellinwood dellinwood@smcvt.edu or Moise St. Louis mstlouis@smctvt.edu   

Department of Applied Linguistics: Mahmoud Arani marani@smcvt.edu or Rick Gamache rgamache@smcvt.edu

Office of International Students and Services:  Kevin Spensley kspensley@smcvt.edu or Melissa Holzman mholzman@smcvt.edu

Bergeron Wellness Center: ext. 2234

Office of Edmundite Campus Ministry: ext. 2342

(Below is the text of a January 30, 2017, communication from Vice Presidents New and Ellinwood to the campus community)

Updates for the Campus Community on Presidential Executive Action

Dear Campus Community:

On Friday, January 27th, the President signed an executive order to keep refugees from entering the country for 120 days and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim nations out of the country for three months.  Citizens of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen will not be permitted entry or re-entry into the United States for 90 days, with limited exceptions.  It is our understanding that this ban applies to visa holders and individuals with a dual citizenship with another non-US country.  We understand that the ban on re-entry also currently encompasses U.S. permanent residents (“green card” holders) who are citizens of one of these countries.  However, lawful permanent residents who are citizens of these countries will be admitted unless the government receives significant derogatory information indicating a serious threat to public safety and welfare.  The Executive Order does not prohibit U.S. citizens who have dual nationality from entering the United States with their valid U.S. passport. Currently, we do not have any students from the seven banned countries attending Saint Michael’s College, nor do we have any students studying in those countries.

Since the signing of the executive order, The Office of Human Resources has been in contact with faculty and staff, and Student Affairs and Office for International Students and Services staff members have been in contact with international students. The College has been consulting and communicating with immigration attorneys and immigration officials from Senator Leahy’s office.  There was a meeting on campus earlier this afternoon for faculty, staff and students who had questions about the ramifications of the executive order. Sandy Strempel, an immigration attorney from Dinse, Knapp and McAndrew law firm, and Susan Sussman, also an immigration attorney from Senator Leahy’s office were in attendance to make comments and answer questions.     

This is a very fluid event which will require ongoing monitoring and communication.  The ambiguities and other unanswered questions of the Executive Order are cause for individuals to get advice if they have questions about whether their nationality, country of birth, country of residence, or travel history would make them subject to the Executive Order, or for questions about any possible relief from the consequences of the Executive Order.

For those who are impacted by this executive order, please seek support from the following on campus resources:

Human Resources: Mike New mnew@smcvt.edu  Tina Tenney ttenney@smcvt.edu

Student Affairs:   Dawn Ellinwood dellinwood@smcvt.edu or Moise St. Louis mstlouis@smctvt.edu   

Department of Applied Linguistics: Mahmoud  Arani marani@smcvt.edu or Rick Gamache rgamache@smcvt.edu

Office of International Students and Services:  Kevin Spensley kspensley@smcvt.edu  or Melissa Holzman mholzman@smcvt.edu

Bergeron Wellness Center: ext. 2234

Office of Edmundite Campus Ministry: ext. 2342

Saint Michael’s College has a long tradition of welcoming students from around the world in our Edmundite tradition of hospitality and seeks to uphold the dignity of every person.  In the Catholic tradition, we wish to walk alongside all who make up our SMC community and ask that the community be mindful and supportive of our students, faculty and staff members who may feel vulnerable and unsafe in light of the executive order.

Dawn Ellinwood, VP for Student Affairs

Mike New, VP for Human Resources

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