President’s comments on immigration issues at Faculty Senate

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne made the following comments at the Faculty Senate meeting on Thursday, January 26, 2017.

I want to take this opportunity to praise and express my thanks to the Stanford community for the peaceful and constructive activities on campus on Inauguration Day last Friday.

Our students were engaged in a variety of topical discussions. The Office for Religious Life put on a well-received community gathering in Memorial Church, where we heard campus voices, saw student performance groups, and Persis provided some reflections.

But I want to also acknowledge there are many continuing issues of concern in our campus community.

There have been, as you saw with an email that was circulated yesterday, additional instances of swastikas appearing on campus in recent days. The Stanford Police continue to investigate this.

I can say that in addition to our Jewish community, we know that other communities within Stanford are feeling very concerned and vulnerable.

This is a time where we need to again reaffirm our values. We value free expression, but acts of hate are unacceptable here. All members of our community belong here at Stanford, and we are here to support them.

We will continue to monitor this very closely, of course.

This affirmation includes undocumented students. There has been much discussion of national immigration policies in just the last few days.

Stanford, again, I want to reiterate, continues to support our undocumented students in the ways I’ve described previously, both here at the Senate and in previous statements.

I do want to mention that I’ve sent a letter to members of Congress expressing support for the BRIDGE Act. This is a piece of bipartisan legislation that would preserve the protections for those who have remained in the United States under the DACA program, which as you know is an executive action rather than a law.

Also, I’ll be meeting with students who have circulated a petition regarding immigration issues. I look forward to that conversation and hearing their proposals.

Now, over the last 24 hours, there has been a lot of discussion of a leaked draft executive order apparently being considered by the new administration, which, if enacted, would place restrictions on the ability of visa holders from certain countries to enter or re-enter the United States for a period of time. I want to give you an update on this.

Again, we take these developments seriously. We are monitoring the issue very closely. We’re looking at who in our community may be impacted by this, in terms of their ability to return to the U.S. if they leave, and reaching out to members of our community who may be traveling in affected countries or considering travel there. So that’s in progress.

I should say this is an issue that is still evolving, as are other new issues emerging from Washington. We’ll be staying on top of them, of course, and we’ll provide timely information and support to students, faculty and other members of our community.

That said, the situation is very much in flux. We want to make sure we respond to facts, not just rumors or leaks, of which there are many, so we can support our community in the best way possible.

But most importantly, again, it’s important to stick to our values, including our support for everyone who is a member of our community, and our support for the principles of academic freedom and freedom of expression.


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