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Provost Letter of Support for International Students, Faculty, and Staff

On January 31, 2017, Provost Ian Bickford sent the following letter to the Simon’s Rock community. The letter was issued a few days after the US president’s executive order blocked citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States as well suspended all refugees from entering the US. Eventually, the courts suspended enforcement on parts of the order. Then the president rescinded the order and replaced it with an altered version. Regardless of changes in the government’s policies and actions, we will not waiver in our commitment to support members of our community whose right to an education and scholarship must be defended.


Dear Students, Colleagues, and Friends,

I am writing to reaffirm our commitment at Simon’s Rock to the principles of equity and inclusion, extending to immigrant and international students, faculty, and staff. As President Botstein wrote over the weekend in response to the Executive Order of January 27, which limited entry to the United States for noncitizens from seven countries and barred entry for refugees, “We cannot…permit our country to return to the America First isolationism of the 1930s and redefine itself as a place of xenophobia, intolerance, and discrimination.”

Everyone in our community is and will remain equally valued and equally welcome.

-Ian Bickford,
Provost, Bard College at Simon's Rock

We have verified that there are currently no Simon’s Rock students or employees overseas whose reentry to the U.S. has been delayed. Yet many in our diverse community, not only those with direct family connections in the countries specified in President Trump’s directive, may feel under attack for their faith, heritage, ethnicity, or immigration status. We will remain attentive to the broader implications of new and shifting immigration policy, and we will strive as always to provide services at Simon’s Rock that are constituted intentionally and inclusively for all students, faculty, staff, friends, and partners. Everyone in our community is and will remain equally valued and equally welcome.

Bard College at Simon’s Rock will not release information about students and employees regarding citizenship or immigration status unless required by law. We will provide free legal consultation to students who are concerned about whether they can visit their countries of origin or who are concerned about their status when traveling internationally.

On Thursday, February 2, 2017, President Botstein and Bard Professor and Journalist Mark Danner discussed President Trump’s foreign and domestic policies in a public forum. This video recording of the public forum is available for viewing.

I encourage students to talk with a member of the International Support Team here at Simon’s Rock. I’ve attached a contact list for members of the team. These individuals are monitoring the information from Homeland Security as it relates to those impacted by the Executive Orders. They can answer questions and connect you to resources at the local and national levels. On Monday, February 6, 2017, Laurel Scott, Simon’s Rock alumna and immigration attorney, spoke on campus about the several recent signed and draft Executive Orders that affect immigration, the legal contexts they fit into, how the Orders are expected to affect immigrant communities, and what the legal challenges are.

Beyond campus, the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Immigration Law Center provide updated news and clear information about immigration rights and legal aid:

Finally, I will share that I have joined thousands of academics and college and university leaders in petitioning against the Executive Order. You can find the petition here:

Warm wishes,

Ian Bickford
Provost and Vice President
Bard College at Simon’s Rock