Dear students, faculty and staff,
Earlier today, writing on behalf of the University of Illinois System, President Killeen, Executive Vice President Wilson, and three chancellors expressed great concern about negative consequences stemming from President Trump’s recent Executive Order on immigration. We write to amplify this concern and to restate the principles that will guide us at this unsettled and unsettling time.
At Illinois, individual faculty, students, staff, and visiting scholars—along with their families—have been directly affected by the executive order. Overnight, they have been made to feel uncertain about their welcome in this country and our community. We have reached out to these individuals with assurances that they remain more than welcome here: that their presence and contributions sustain Illinois’ commitment to be an inclusive land-grant university with a truly global impact.
We ask that you join us in standing with those who are affected by the executive order. Together, we will defend the unfettered academic inquiry that is foundational to our intellectually diverse enterprise. Our institutional values demand nothing less of us. The marginalization of international faculty, students, staff, and visiting scholars diminishes us all. This we will not abide.
The university will advocate vigorously against any actions that are needlessly detrimental to our international community. Yet despite all the assurances we can give, we know that much uncertainty remains, and out of uncertainty grows fear. What can be done? We can fight fear with compassion. Time and again our community has summoned compassion for its members in distress, and we trust that it will do so again. Information also helps fight fear, so let us explain how we will keep you informed as we do and learn more.
We have updated information available detailing support for international members of our campus community at http://go.illinois.edu/openillinois2.
We have created an Administrative Working Group on Immigration that has membership from key offices across campus to help us stay joined up as we deal with actions adversely affecting our international populations.
Associate Chancellor Robin Kaler will serve as the point of contact for reporting specific cases where our students, faculty, staff, postdocs or visiting scholars have been detained or may otherwise experience difficulties because of the new executive order. Please relay any information about such cases to Robin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We do not have any easy answers to offer and there is still a great deal that we are trying to understand. But we do know that this is one of those times at Illinois when extraordinary effort and extraordinary kindness can combine to make an extraordinary difference. We are counting on it—and on you.
Robert J. Jones
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