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Chancellor Helm reaffirms university commitment to a "safe and welcoming environment"

Statement reiterates policies and values related to diversity

Chancellor Helm
Dear Fellow Members of the UMass Dartmouth Community,  
 
Given the recent executive order that restricts individuals from seven countries from entering the United States and the impact it is having on people's lives, an impact brought home as we witnessed with the detention of our colleagues at Logan airport, I write to reaffirm that UMass Dartmouth remains fully committed to ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for every member of our community. 
 
UMass Dartmouth, as a public research university, is dedicated to engaged learning and innovative research. The strength of our university rests in our ability to attract the best students and faculty from across the world to our programs regardless of nationality, religious affiliation, or immigration status. The strength of our university is directly linked to our diverse community of faculty, staff, and students and to our shared engagement in creating and transmitting knowledge that enhances lives.  
 
I would like to reiterate the following for our campus community:
  • It is the policy of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth not to discriminate against any applicant for admission or employment, or against any employee, or student in any educational program, on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, veteran status, handicap, sex, or sexual orientation.
  • The UMass Dartmouth Department of Public Safety does not gather information about the citizenship or immigration status or religious affiliation of our students and employees, or anyone with whom officers interact. We have no plans to alter this practice.
  • We are committed to protecting student confidentiality and will not share private information about our students unless compelled to do so by a court order.
  • Although we are bound, as a State institution, to comply with State and Federal law, enforcement of federal immigration policy is not a function for which we have responsibility and is not an activity we would initiate.
  • We have no plans whatsoever to discontinue in-state resident tuition rates for DACA students. We have a support structure to identify accommodations for students experiencing extenuating circumstances impacting their degree completion. UMass Dartmouth, along with over 600 other institutions of higher education and our sister campuses, signed the Statement in Support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and our Undocumented Immigrant Students in December 2016.
We are committed to supporting our faculty, staff and students and offer the following resources:
  • Our International Student and Scholars Center will continue to serve as a resource for information and advising for international students and others related to immigration.
  • Our Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will provide guidance and answer resource-related questions for students concerned by DACA issues and documentation status.
  • Our Counseling Center will continue to offer counseling, including emergency drop-in counseling, to all students.
  • Other resources are available through our Law School:
We continue to work with our colleagues in the UMass System and with others who are committed to individual and intellectual freedom to protect the rights, safety, and well-being of our international students, faculty, and staff. For those whose travel plans might be disrupted by the recent executive order, I suggest that you research your status and options carefully before undertaking international travel.  
 
In conclusion, let me urge all members of our community to read and reflect on public policies that affect our values and to advocate for those values with your elected representatives. This is the responsibility of citizens in a democratic society, and I hope we all take this task seriously.
 
Sincerely, 
 
Randy Helm
Interim Chancellor
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