To the Vanderbilt community,
As members of the Executive Board of your Student Government, we are committed to the relentless pursuit of justice and advocacy on your behalf. In understanding the weight and responsibility of this position, we cannot stand aside and condone the actions that are proving to have very real and damaging consequences to our peers and neighbors. We condemn any order, executive or not, that tolerates or encourages the discrimination of any person, citizen or not, on the basis of race, gender identity, nationality, or other quality that makes each of us inherently unique. As your student government, we commit ourselves, in both word and action, to the values central to our university, especially those of diversity – of thought, experience, and identity. At the end of February, four VSG representatives will be traveling to Washington DC to speak with various Senators, Representatives, and other political leaders. You can fully expect this executive order to be discussed. If there are other issues you would like to see discussed, please do not hesitate to reach out to President Ariana Fowler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have been approached by a variety of students, faculty, and staff concerning what actions have been taken on campus and we have detailed those below:
- All students and scholars from the seven countries listed in the Executive Order were contacted and advised not to travel outside the USA. These members of our community were also encouraged to consult with immigration lawyers if they were considering moving forward with travel. The international student office, ISSS, offered to meet with affected individuals during the day and is currently holding private small group sessions with affected students.
- The Psychological Counseling Center is holding a training session today to prepare to support DAC/undocumented and international students affected by the Executive Order.
- The Office of Inclusion Initiatives and Cultural Competency (IICC) offered a program for DOS staff about supporting DACA and undocumented students on Jan. 12. Both ICC and ISSS are prepared to support DACA and undocumented students.
We would also like to reaffirm and emphasize the University’s official stance on the following:
- We are committed to providing all our students, faculty and staff with a safe and welcoming environment, and ensure their continued ability to thrive on our campus.
- The Vanderbilt University Police Department has not, does not and will not ask individuals for citizenship information. This is an existing practice that we will continue to follow.
- Vanderbilt University Police Department has not, does not and will not target or conduct surveillance of individuals based solely on race, ethnicity, nationality or religion.
- Vanderbilt University Police Department does not and will not voluntarily share information with ICE or CBP, has no memoranda of understanding with ICE or CBP and will not voluntarily enter into one.
- Vanderbilt does not share citizenship or immigration information about its students except as required by law.
- Vanderbilt is opposed to and will not voluntarily participate in a registry of Muslim individuals. We also condemn the concept of a registry of any individual based solely on race, religion, nationality, or ethnicity.
We will continue to keep you updated on university actions related to the wellbeing and safety of all who call Vanderbilt home. There are several ways to show support this week:
- The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Coalition will be hosting a solidarity vigil and rally at 5:30 tomorrow evening, located at Coleman Park Community Center, 384 Thompson Ln, Nashville, Tennessee 37211.
- The Middle Eastern Student Association is hosting their Meharajan Feast this Saturday at 6pm. Tickets are $10 and are available at Sarratt Box Office. All funds will go to support Syrian refugees in the Nashville community.
In the words of our country’s founder, George Washington, “The bosom of America is open to receive not only the Opulent and respected Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privilege”.
We, the Executive Board of Vanderbilt Student Government, support all affected, either directly or indirectly, by the hostility exhibited in our current political climate and encourage all members of the Vanderbilt community to practice understanding and empathy in their interactions with others.
The above is a statement released by Vanderbilt Student Government Executive Board to the undergraduate student body on 31 January 2017.
- Student Services Committee in collaboration with VPB’s CityVU relaunched Passport to Nashville last week with five venues: The Hermitage, Country Musical Hall of Fame, The Johnny Cash Museum, The Adventure Science Center, and The Frist Center for the Visual Arts
- Campus Life Committee worked with Dining to send out a Dining survey in which they have so far collected more than 1,004 responses
- Academic Affairs Committee partnered with the A&S Council last Wednesday to put together the Spring Org Fair. Over 300 people attended!
- The Residential & Environmental Affairs Committee is wrapping up submitting some amazing projects to the Green Fund
- Executive Steering Committee has completed its review of the VSG Judicial Branch and is presenting its findings to them this Friday
- VSAP helped plan rides for 30-40 Vanderbilt students to attend the women’s march last Saturday
SEC in DC
Participants of SEC in DC will be:
- Jane Brennan (sophomore, Executive Steering Committee member)
- Ariana Fowler (senior, Student Body President)
- Hunter Gabel (junior, Judicial Court Justice)
- Nico Garder (first-year, Memorial House Senator)
We look forward to seeing these four incredible VSGers advocate on behalf of the student body in Washington, D.C. this spring!
- Check out this semester’s Senate agenda here!
Passport to Nashville is a program that allows students to visit great landmarks and venues around Nashville. All that is required is that students show up to any of the listed locations and show their Commodore Card student ID for FREE ENTRY. Yes, that is right, you can visit any of these locations for free due to VSG and VPB. The program is running indefinitely and is available any day of the week or weekend. Additionally, it is available for both undergraduate and graduate students. The program is already running so get out there and explore Nashville! Additionally, more locations are expected to be added soon!
Contact Chandler Scott, a member of our Student Services Committee, at email@example.com if you have any locations you would like to see be part of the program.
VUIT has done a wonderful job in overhauling its Student Organization webserver, and Vanderbilt Student Government is proud to transition to the platform. Some parts of the website are still under construction, but many of the features from the Squarespace site have been moved over. For questions about the new website or how to create a student org website, contact Director of Technology Robert Travis.
Our committees have been hard at work, making progress on many student-proposed initiatives. Find out more with the Committee Branch Report (November 2016)!