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Official University Messages - Message Detail  

To: All Students
From: Kimberly M. Goff-Crews
Posted Date: Feb 20, 2017 02:33:03 pm
Summary:  Yale's response to changes in federal immigration policy
Last Updated: Feb 22, 2017 09:22:38 pm Message ID: 149469

Dear Students:

Immediately following the presidential election, President Salovey wrote a column in the Yale Daily News in which he affirmed Yale’s commitment to our students, scholars, and staff and outlined several ways in which the university would support them. Today, I write to provide an update on policies and resources that are designed to fully honor that promise.

First and foremost, it is important to reiterate that Yale has a bedrock commitment to its students and to providing a safe, welcoming campus where differences are respected and celebrated. We are a vibrant international community. Our global character and our diversity of backgrounds, faiths, viewpoints, and experiences is our vital strength.  

Yale will continue its well-established policy of admitting students without regard to immigration status. Moreover, our financial aid policies assure that no student will be denied an education because they are undocumented; this is true regardless of whether a student has been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). If DACA were to be rescinded, Yale has vowed to adjust affected students’ aid packages to compensate for any inability to contribute from student earnings. 

We take very seriously the safety and protection of all members of our community. In November, President Salovey asked Yale Police Chief Ronnell Higgins to review the department’s formal policies as they relate to immigration status and federal enforcement actions and make sure they are consistent with those of the New Haven Police Department. This process has been completed. Under Yale Police Department (YPD) policies, a community member’s undocumented status has no effect on how the department interacts with that person. YPD officers do not inquire about a person’s status unless investigating criminal activity. They also do not inquire about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses or others who seek police assistance. Further, YPD does not enforce the civil provisions of U.S. immigration law, and any law enforcement agent who wishes to enter our campus is expected to first check in with the YPD. Finally, in the interest of safety and privacy, Yale does not permit outside law enforcement officers to access our campus without a search warrant or other legal authorization. 

The rhetoric of the presidential campaign as well as recent media reports have caused understandable concern among undocumented students and those who study, teach, and work with them. Although I share those concerns, as of today President Obama’s DACA order remains, and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services continues to issue new approvals and work permits through the DACA program.

As Yale and its peer institutions and allies work together to persuade Congress and the new Administration of the extraordinary contributions of undocumented students on our campuses and in our communities, it is our hope that President Trump will reconsider his ill-advised pledge to end or limit the DACA order. In the meantime, and as part of our ongoing federal advocacy, President Salovey has joined more than 600 college and university presidents in signing a letter to President Trump urging him to uphold DACA. He also has publicly endorsed the BRIDGE Act, legislation to provide legal certainty and to extend the ability of DACA recipients to work in the United States.

More broadly, the university is working to ensure that international students and scholars continue to have access to the U.S. and to academic and scientific conferences, collaborations, and events in other countries. On January 29,  President Salovey wrote to the Yale community to express deep concern with President Trump’s executive order banning the entry to the U.S. by students and faculty from certain countries. I also want to share with you letters from the American Council on Education (ACE), of which Yale is a member, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), of which President Salovey and many others at Yale are members.

More recently, President Salovey signed a letter from 47 leading colleges and universities urging President Trump to rectify or rescind the executive order, and Yale filed an amicus brief with other universities to explain the harmful effects of the executive order on international students, faculty, scholars, and staff. In addition, as part of a broader effort, the Association of American Universities (AAU) also filed an amicus brief on the executive order. These statements and briefs, which underscore the important contributions of diverse students and faculty, can be found here. Looking ahead, Yale will advocate for sensible federal policies that respect legitimate security concerns while allowing for the flow of students and scholars across borders, with visa processes that are timely, predictable, and deferential to the democratic traditions of our nation.

We will continue to lend support to affected students, scholars, and faculty, including providing ongoing information about any proposed changes to federal policy. In particular, Yale’s Office of International Students & Scholars (OISS) offers up-to-date information and support for those with questions or concerns related to their immigration or work status. I urge you to visit the OISS website for more information. The professional staff of OISS is available to give advice on policies and actions affecting undocumented and international members of the community, and to connect students, faculty, and staff to legal resources. 

Finally, some members of our community have reported an uptick in incidents of verbal harassment as they go about their business, particularly in off-campus, public spaces around Yale. While it appears that the perpetrators of these incidents have not been Yale community members, Yale nonetheless deplores such expressions of intolerance, which are antithetical to our values. Any student who has a concern about harassment may report it to their dean or to the Office for Equal Opportunity Programs or through the mechanisms described here. Students who are threatened or are concerned about their physical safety should contact the Yale Police. 

Yale is strong because of our diversity. As we continue to monitor developments in Washington, in the courts, and around the country, we will be unequivocal and outspoken in support of the university’s values and traditions. We appreciate each and every member of our community, and we are united in the effort to ensure that Yale remains a safe and welcoming environment for those who aspire to contribute to the U.S. and the world through outstanding research, scholarship, education, and practice.


Kimberly M. Goff-Crews
Secretary and Vice President for Student Life