January 30, 2017

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SIU Students, Faculty and Staff,

We have heard from students, faculty and staff concerned about the U.S. president’s executive order temporarily banning individuals from select countries from entering the United States. I share this concern, and I know that many of you across campus are concerned as well.

While the president’s executive order is temporary and under legal review, it creates great uncertainty -- not only about the order itself, but about possible future federal policy changes that could negatively impact our international students, faculty and staff. Until new policies are proposed or implemented, we cannot predict what effect they will have.

However, in the face of uncertainty, we can continue to assure all of our international students and employees that they are welcome and supported on our campus.

SIU has a long and proud history serving international students from around the world. In fact, the first international student to receive a bachelor’s degree from SIU arrived in 1947 from Iraq and went on to become a successful business leader.

Our commitment to our international students and scholars remains strong to this day. We believe that our more than 1,200 international students from more than 100 countries positively contribute to a campus culture that helps all of us better understand what it means to be part of a global society.

We pledge to do all we legally can to support all of our students, including those who have come to our campus from other countries to further their education. Included in this support is the protection of student privacy. In addition, the Center for International Education and the Center for English as a Second Language are reaching out to all of our international students to invite them to a series of meetings to hear their concerns, provide support and respond to questions.

SIU is not alone in its support of international students and its concerns about the implications of the executive order. The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, of which SIU is a member, has issued a statement on the current executive order describing its impact and asking that it be reconsidered. Universities across the country are also raising concerns.

I encourage all students, faculty and staff to support and respect our international students in these uncertain times. They need to know that we value them and that we are here for them, just as we value all students, faculty and staff. Please join me in this commitment.

Sincerely,

Brad Colwell
Interim Chancellor