On Friday, the President of the United States signed an executive order imposing entry restrictions on people from seven specific countries. As a global community, Wheaton is affected by this order. I want to make it clear that the college will do everything in its power to maintain a secure and safe environment for all students and members of the college community.
The diversity of our campus, which includes students from across the US and from more than 70 other countries, is a source of strength. I realize that the shifting national dialogue is causing many to feel more vulnerable and insecure, but you have my commitment that we will pursue every means available to create a secure environment for all.
We remain committed to maintaining the privacy of student and personnel records. This includes not releasing information about immigration status unless compelled by law or court order. Our campus police are not involved in the enforcement of immigration laws and will not voluntarily assist in such efforts.
We have already offered support to members of our community who we believe are impacted by this executive order. If you are affected and have not heard from us, please contact me. We will continue to monitor potential changes to federal policy closely. And we will continue to seek opportunities to advocate on behalf of members of our community whose rights may be at risk.
I also want to ensure that students, faculty and staff know they can turn to college offices—from the Center for Global Education to Counseling and Health Services and many other offices—for assistance or for guidance in identifying resources. If you don’t know where to go, feel free to start with me.
Wheaton prides itself on its commitment to creating an inclusive campus environment that values the contributions and perspectives of every individual. It is times like this that provide us with the opportunity to build an even stronger community and to serve as a model for other colleges and for society as a whole. My hope is that the anger, confusion and pain created by events like this will result in positive, powerful and respectful dialogue and action on campus and beyond. Let’s join together to support each other and to make Wheaton a safe, secure and welcoming environment for all.
Dennis M. Hanno