- Campus Community
Executive Actions and Staying True to Our Values
Dear University of Maryland community,
As a public institution, the University of Maryland does not normally take stands on political issues. However, we have an obligation to speak out when government actions are fundamentally antithetical to the core values and missions of the institution, especially when they adversely impact many members of our community.
Such is now the case with two presidential executive actions. On January 27, 2017 an executive order ("Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the U.S.") banned temporarily the entry into the U.S. of individuals of seven mostly Muslim nations, among other actions. We recognize that a strengthened visa process is important to our nation's security. But this executive order poses human, moral, and constitutional dilemmas.
Over the weekend, I released a public statement expressing UMD's deep concern and emphatic support for all those affected. We must remain true to our bedrock values of diversity and inclusion, tolerance and intellectual freedom. These are hallmarks of our democracy as well. It is in our national interest to welcome talented persons of all nations to study, teach, and do research here and enhance America's global leadership in higher education.
The statement is at: https://umdrightnow.umd.edu/news/umd-response-executive-order
On our campus, this executive order affects some 350 people. Most of them are graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and visiting scholars. They are essential to UMD's research mission. They are members of our campus family.
To all of you, we pledge our full support. This University is your University. You belong here. We stand with you.
The Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) continues to assess the impacts of this executive order and to lead our support effort:
- To date, we know of one graduate student whose return to the U.S. has been blocked. There are possibly three others. We are trying to intervene on their behalf.
- A visiting professor from abroad has informed us that he will not be coming to UMD to teach as a personal protest of the executive action, even though this professor is not subject to the ban.
- If you know of other campus-related persons from one of these countries who is now unable to return, please contact Susan Dougherty, the Director of ISSS, at email@example.com.
- ISSS advises those affected by this executive order to defer any travel abroad. Please meet with ISSS staff before planning such travel.
- Additional campus resources available are UMD's Faculty-Staff Assistance Program, Counseling Services, Graduate Legal Aid, Undergraduate Legal Aid, Campus Chaplains, and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Members of our community also are concerned about an executive order issued on January 25, 2017 ("Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the U.S."). It prioritizes the deportation of the undocumented who have engaged in criminal offenses or other wrongdoing. It directs federal agencies to "ensure that jurisdictions that fail to comply with federal immigration law do not receive federal funds."
This order does not remove uncertainties for students here under the state's Dream Act ("Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors") or on DACA status ("Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals"), even though they are law-abiding since this is a condition for selection to these programs.
Last fall, I stated UMD's unwavering support for these students. Today, I reaffirm that support for our 20 "Maryland dreamers" and the more than 100 DACA students. We will provide you with all available protections under the law and in accordance with the guidance provided by the State Attorney General:
- We will not release information on immigration status of our students, unless required by law.
- We will not share student information with Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) officials without a court order.
- We will not permit ICE officials to enter campus buildings to search for undocumented persons, unless they have a warrant or absent exigent circumstances.
- UMD police will not partner with ICE officials to assist with immigration enforcement activities.
- UMD police will not detain, question, or arrest any individual solely on the basis of his or her undocumented status.
A website with information on available resources is here: http://undocumented.umd.edu/
As a member of the Association of American Universities, UMD has joined the AAU in advocating for the Bridge Act ("Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream and Grow our Economy"), a bipartisan bill in Congress that provides protection for undocumented youth should DACA be discontinued.
The implementation of these executive orders is in flux. We will keep you updated on future changes.
Working with higher education associations such as the AAU and with elected leaders, we will continue to press the case before the new Administration for why the research university—with its values and missions—is essential to the future of our nation.
We are in this together.
Wallace D. Loh