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 email@example.com.
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.