Haverford Affirms Protection of Non-U.S. Citizens and Religious Minorities at the College
A message from President Kim Benston and Board Chair Rick White.
Dear Members of the Haverford Community,
In the spirit of "continuing revelation" that guides our Quaker-rooted quest for truth, Haverford College has long pursued a vision of social justice and ethical practice by and for its members. In such times as the First and Second World Wars, the era of Civil Rights Struggle and the War in Vietnam, and the years since 9/11, College constituents have revisited and renewed dedication to core moral principles within challenging circumstances. The College takes strength from that tradition of discernment now, as the nation stands at the threshold of profoundly uncertain change in federal government, with a new administration whose highest-level appointees advocate policies that could hurt present and future members of our own community.
Many people here, especially those from groups disparaged by the President-elect during the electoral campaign, have reason to feel endangered by these new currents in governmental leadership, as well as by their secondary effects within the public sphere. We are moved, therefore, to decisively reassert our unwavering devotion to protecting and supporting all members of our community and to being especially vigilant on behalf of those facing imminent peril or harassment.
In particular, we affirm the College's solidarity with students, faculty, and staff who are non-United States citizens and/or members of vulnerable religious minorities who might in the future be subjected to harsh governmental restrictions, ranging from reduced status to deportation. In defense of these community members, the Board of Managers has adopted the following resolution:
Resolution Affirming Protection of Non-United States Citizens and Religious Minorities at Haverford College
Whereas Haverford College ("the College"), guided by values intrinsic to its Quaker heritage and to the democratic ethos of liberal arts education, seeks to promote justice, equality, tolerance, respect, and peace among its members and between them and members of other communities; and
Whereas the College embraces as a core principle of its educational mission an unwavering commitment to developing and nurturing a diverse, inclusive community; and
Whereas this commitment is underwritten by a collective responsibility to do everything within the College's power to protect each member of the College community, and each person who comes in contact with the College, from discrimination, harassment, inequity, or other harm; and
Whereas the College does not discriminate on the basis of national origin, immigration status, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, race, color, ability status, veteran status, age, or any other characteristic protected by law in the areas of admission, hiring, housing, purchasing, or any of its practices or procedures; and
Whereas the College unequivocally supports all members of its community regardless of their national origin, immigration status, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, race, color, ability status, veteran status, age, or any other characteristic protected by law; and
Whereas we recognize that members of our community and many who come into contact with the College who are not United States citizens and/or are members of certain religious groups confront specific fears at present and might face new dangers in the future;
Now, Therefore Be It Resolved that Haverford College dedicates itself to the following practices and policies, in keeping with the ethical calling of its core principles:
- The College affirms its continuing adherence to strict practices governing the protection of student and employee information, does not release any private student material without consent from the student or an appropriate court order or legal warrant, and will refuse participation in any voluntary act or program (including "E-Verify" or any registration system) that would make such information available to government officials or others.
- Campus Safety will continue to refrain from making inquiries or keeping records regarding the immigration status or religion of either community members or campus visitors.
- The College will not cooperate with agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), or other immigration officers seeking access to persons or spaces on campus in order to enforce federal immigration law unless ordered to do so by specific court action.
- The College defines its residential, dining, and learning spaces as "restricted" areas bearing legitimate privacy interests, and therefore requires immigration officials to obtain valid legal warrant before gaining access to such areas.
. . .
In conjunction with the above Resolution, we have taken, or are pursuing, the following actions:
- The College was one of a handful of liberal arts colleges to join an Educators Amicus Brief in the 2016 DAPA/DACA+ US v. Texas case that would have expanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative and the new Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) initiative. Stymied by a 4-4 Supreme Court decision, this effort, promoted by the Obama administration and opposed by Texas and 25 other states, was halted.
- The College will continue to work with educational and legal partners, from the Tri-Co and Quaker Consortium to other liberal arts and higher educational associations, to sustain and expand the DACA program, which has widened opportunities for education, employment, and social mobility among hundreds of thousands of "undocumented" young people.
- The College will continue to meet the full financial need of all admitted students, including undocumented students notwithstanding the possibility that the latter will lose access to Pell Grants (or other forms of federal assistance) and employment opportunities if denied protections currently provided by DACA.
- President Benston helped draft and/or signed statements of concern directed to the President-elect on the topics of DACA; post-election intimidation and harm of marginalized populations; and climate action (with reference to climate change's adverse effects on poor and marginalized communities).
- President Benston will assemble an Ad Hoc Working Group on Immigration and Government Relations to study the application of this Resolution alongside such issues as:
- implications of possible government action for financial aid, study abroad, internships, research stipends, work study opportunities, federal funding, and Campus Safety procedures;
- possible implications of local and state laws on immigration and non-citizen status;
- protocols and legal strategies for responding to possible inquiries from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and/or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS);
- resources for non-U.S. citizen community members, including current legal information on immigration law, visa policies, and non-residents’ rights.
- The administration will also be working with its contacts in immigration law to arrange a forum on legal implications of emerging administration policies at the beginning of the second semester.
We speak on behalf of a great many who have lent ideas, expertise, and passion to this ongoing effort. We are proud to stand with you as a community committed to the security, success, and dignity of all its members.
Kim Benston Rick White
President Chair, Board of Managers