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Protecting Undocumented Students at Smith

November 28, 2016

Dear Students, Staff and Faculty,

Following the election, one of the most pressing concerns raised on campuses throughout the country is the need to support and protect our undocumented students. It is a concern that I strongly share. To that end, I signed the November 21 statement, initiated by Pomona College President David Oxtoby, urging business, civic, religious and nonprofit leaders to support extension and renewal of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy under which many undocumented students are currently studying in the U.S.

In addition, over the past two weeks, petitions have been circulating that urge colleges and universities to join the sanctuary campus movement. More than 1,600 Smith students, staff, faculty and alumnae signed such a petition urging that Smith declare itself a sanctuary of higher education.

I strongly support the spirit of the petition. Within the limits of federal law, we must support every member of our community, including and especially those targeted by anti-immigrant actions. As an institution founded to expand access to education, Smith is committed to the right of every student to pursue her education with certainty and stability in a safe and supportive environment.

In concert with the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees and the chair of the Board of Trustees, Debbie Duncan ’77, I pledge that Smith will:

  • Remain strongly committed to nondiscrimination in access to education and equal protection of the law, regardless of citizenship or immigration status;
  • Continue to adhere to our policy of not releasing information about students’ citizenship or immigration status unless we are compelled to do so;
  • Continue to consider undocumented applicants in the same way as U.S. citizens and permanent residents, and documented nonimmigrants, without discrimination on the basis of their citizenship or immigration status;
  • Continue to connect undocumented students with supportive resources;
  • Not take any voluntary action that would put members of our community at risk because of their citizenship or immigration status, and
  • Work with others in higher education to extend and renew DACA.

I thank each of the petition signers for your advocacy and your commitment to our shared values of access, inclusion, and protection of all students. I will keep the Smith community informed of the impacts of the changing political and legal environment on our community.


Kathleen McCartney