President Benton issues University-wide statement re: “Immigration Impacts on Our Campus Community”

February 2, 2017 | By Alexa Brown —President Andrew K. Benton has issued a University-wide statement re: “Immigration Impacts on Our Campus Community.” The statement is as follows:

“As you all are aware by now, last weekend the president signed an executive order that restricts entry into the United States for various categories of travelers. Coupled with the possible repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy, many in our campus community have been left with feelings of turmoil and uncertainty and are wondering what’s next. Even as I write this memorandum I am learning of changes, offered as clarification, late last evening.

To be clear, Pepperdine has an unqualified commitment to the safety and protection of our students, faculty, and staff. This week, as developments have continued to unfold around these complex federal issues, the University has reached out to the members of our community who may be impacted and is offering any support they may need. In addition, we are actively coordinating with international student services, legal counsel, and our peer universities to understand the implications of these new policies.

Pepperdine is committed to providing our students with up-to-date information around these issues directly. As a result, the University has put together a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page, which outlines the situation as we understand it today and provides guidance on recent immigration orders and the DACA policy. Impacted students may discuss their questions and concerns in confidence with those noted on the FAQ page. We will continue to monitor policy decisions and communicate on this important university-wide issue.

I have just returned from Washington, D.C., where immigration and related issues were discussed at length. Led by America’s most prominent higher education associations, several college and university presidents have joined in a letter being sent later today to the new secretary of Homeland Security expressing our grave concern for the safe and dependable passage to and from this country for all students, with special attention to our international students. That letter, signed by the president of the American Council on Education, Molly Corbett Broad, also includes Pepperdine University as a signatory.

This year, our guiding theme for the University explores what it means to set an open table for all. Born out of our Christian mission, Pepperdine affirms without reservation that all people-regardless of who they are or where they come from-are worthy endeavors and equipped with limitless potential. We are a university committed to the diversity found in our campus and global communities, and we proudly embrace a culture of open dialogue, dual-minded perspective, the free exchange of ideas, and-perhaps most importantly-compassion.

I will be hosting a town hall session on Wednesday, February 15, at 5 PM in Elkins Auditorium, where I will be discussing these topics, as well as our commitment to diversity and inclusiveness. I welcome any questions or concerns you may have during this community forum and look forward to continuing the conversation around these important issues together as one supportive university.”

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