My message to the RWU community about the executive order on immigration

This university is named for Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island who helped enshrine freedom of religion as a bedrock principle for this nation. So, in the wake of the president’s executive order on immigration, we feel a special responsibility to declare our full support for all Roger Williams University faculty, students and staff — regardless of their religious beliefs, national origin or immigration status.

I have already joined 600 college and university presidents in signing a letter supporting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has allowed 741,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to remain in the country.

I have also joined 200 college and university presidents in signing a letter articulating our belief in “human decency, equal rights, freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination.”

Now, during this period of confusion and alarm, I am affirming our commitment to international and Muslim students, faculty and staff — as well as to their families.

Now, I am affirming our commitment to the privacy of student records, consistent with state and federal laws. That means RWU will not provide information on an individual’s religion, ethnicity or immigration status to anyone except as required by law.

Now, I am extending the full range of campus programs and services available at RWU to help support students, faculty and staff navigate this uncertain time.

In short, I am extending to them the welcome demanded by our namesake’s legacy.

I am making this statement today, following consultation with the RWU Faculty Senate on Wednesday.

In the next week or so, I will be holding another “Fireside Chat” to allow members of the campus community to talk about their concerns and views regarding the executive order and related matters. I am especially interested in hearing from international students but all are welcome to attend and discuss these issues. Information on the date, place and time will be forthcoming shortly.

In the meantime, faculty, staff and students may tap into the assistance and information available at: The RWU Intercultural Center (401) 254-3121; the Spiegel Center for Global and International Programs Abroad (401) 254-3899; and the Spiritual Life Program (401) 254-3433. Faculty and staff may also contact the Office of General Counsel at (401) 254-5379 regarding H-1B visas and related immigration issues.