Campus support for people subject to the travel ban

Williams students, faculty and staff,

On Tuesday the Supreme Court upheld President Trump’s executive order strictly limiting travel to the U.S. by citizens of seven countries: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen.The college is assessing the likely extent of the order’s impact on members of our community, but the effects will unquestionably be felt here. When the White House first announced its travel ban in early 2017, Williams highlighted our efforts to support citizens of the affected countries, emphasizing that we see them as essential members of a community defined not on the basis of religion, race, or nationality, but on a shared commitment to learning. In the wake of the Court’s decision I want to reiterate that message of support and appreciation for their presence. To all those affected, whether you are on campus this summer or somewhere else: You are welcome at Williams, and we will do everything in our power to support you.In that spirit, I want everyone to know about steps our campus colleagues are already taking to help:

  • We’re reaching out to faculty, staff, and students from countries subject to the order, including graduate students at the Center for Development Economics.
  • Assistant Dean for International Student Services Ninah Pretto and her Dean’s office colleagues are guiding the development of campus-wide resources.
  • Our College Chaplains and Davis Center staff are making themselves available to anyone who needs support.
  • The Dean of Faculty and Human Resources are ready to assist faculty and staff, respectively, with concerns or questions.
  • And the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity is available to speak with members of the community at any time.

Please contact these offices if you want help, and support their efforts if you can.

Regardless of one’s personal views on immigration—and Americans are painfully divided on this and so many issues right now—the Court’s decision presents considerable obstacles to Williams learning and Williams values. Among other concerns, the ban could compromise our commitments to international exchange and sustaining a global community of students, scholars, and staff.

This isn’t the first time the college’s principles have been tested. In our school’s brightest moments we’ve modeled a dedication to equality and fairness that, like Williams itself, is rooted in America’s founding ideals. Now we have to uphold those commitments in the face of sobering new challenges. We have to be dauntless in living our values.I plan to do all I can to help and support the students, faculty and staff who are affected, and I hope you’ll join me. Let’s show the world Williams at our best.Sincerely,

Tiku Majumder
Interim President