To the Lycoming College community:
Like our colleagues at other colleges and universities across the country, the administration at Lycoming has been closely monitoring the impact of the Executive Order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry,” that restricts travel to the United States for persons from seven designated countries: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. At this point, and after a deliberate review, I can tell you that none of our current international students has been directly affected by the Order. In addition, we have not been notified of any faculty or staff who have been impacted. While members of our alumni community have communicated with the administration about the Executive Order, we have also not heard about any Lycoming alumni whose lives have been directly affected.
We should note, however, that there are approximately 17,000 students from the seven countries who are in the United States; and it is likely that many of us know individuals on campuses that have felt a significant impact. In addition, the lives of thousands of other individuals have been disrupted. Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected people.
I am also aware that some members of our community are strongly opposed to this Executive Order while others see it as something necessary to protect our national security. I encourage all of you to engage in the political process and let your voices be heard — because that is how democracy works.
It is also important to note that details related to the enforcement of the executive order remain fluid; court rulings and clarifying statements by the White House have already altered some provisions of this action, and so we remain watchful for changes that may affect our students, faculty, staff, alumni and their families.
From the earliest days of our institution, we have been committed to the Methodist tradition of welcoming persons of every religious persuasion to our educational institution. In our third century, the College now intentionally seeks to recruit, educate and support a student body that reflects the cultural and religious diversity of the world in which we live and work. We are a global institution in terms of our curriculum, the origins of our student body, and the places that our students study. We value and respect the need to engage and learn about the cultures that occupy our globe.
Given the circumstances, however, I must caution members of our community against traveling during the next 90 days to any of the countries named in this Executive Order. If you are contemplating travel, I direct you to the following travel advisory prepared by the global law firm Jackson Lewis: http://www.jacksonlewis.com/publication/travel-advisory-after-trump-executive-order.
I am also aware that the issuing of this Executive Order, which fulfills a campaign promise, may cause anxiety among our students who may have refugee or undocumented status or have family members with that status. In this regard, I am encouraged that Senators Durbin and Graham have introduced a bill referred to as the BRIDGE Act, “Bar Removal of Individuals Who Dream and Grow Our Economy Act.” I have joined more than seventy other Pennsylvania university and college presidents in encouraging US Senators Casey and Toomey to become co-sponsors of the bill. This letter states “…this bi-partisan legislation offers appropriate protection to hundreds of thousands of young people who strengthen our nation by pursuing educational and employment opportunities currently allowed by the DACA program.” It goes on to say that “Among those supported by DACA are students who are thriving on our campuses, making significant contributions to our educational missions while preparing to advance our state's and our country's economic and social well-being.”
As always, Lycoming College remains committed to our core values, which include diversity, inclusion and equality as well as the free exchange of ideas. Please contact me if you have any thoughts or concerns regarding this communication.