A significant percentage of our students, faculty and staff are from countries around the globe. We are stronger and richer in our knowledge and experience through the presence of all of them. I am writing today to express my concern for the well-being of these members of our community and to provide an assurance that we are steadfast in our commitment to and support of all of our international students, scholars and employees. To this end, we continue to be actively engaged in following and evaluating recent events that have caused concern for and among members of our CU Boulder community.
Last week, President Trump signed an executive order placing new restrictions on immigration and the ability of non-United States citizens to enter the United States. We have heard from many students, faculty and staff, including many who are United States citizens, who are concerned about how the orders affect the CU Boulder community.
Here’s what I can tell you. To the best of our knowledge, none of our potentially affected foreign students, faculty or staff were abroad when the new immigration restrictions were put in place last Friday. Furthermore, we do not believe that the immigration orders reach students or employees currently within the United States, including those from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, in lawful status. Nothing within the executive order rescinds their legal status.
Let me be clear, the University of Colorado continues to welcome all of our students, scholars and workers who come from other countries. The executive orders do not direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to take any action against students, scholars or employees currently in the United States legally.
However, we are sensitive to the issue that we are a community of internationally engaged scholars. Many of our students and faculty currently are in foreign countries studying and we have many colleagues from those countries. We continue to advise community members who may be impacted by the executive order to postpone international travel out of the U.S. for the time being. We will be posting updates to our website for you to gain further information as we have it.
I understand that this, and other recent actions by the new president’s administration are causing concern in our community. Please know you have my assurance that we will continue to protect and support our students, faculty and staff to the full extent of our ability and the law. The University of Colorado depends upon the scholarship that flows across international borders and works to be an institution that is fully inclusive of students and employees of all ethnic backgrounds, national origins and religions in our community. Respecting and welcoming all who wish to engage with us is fundamental to our values.
Philip P. DiStefano,