A Community of Inclusion

Jan. 31, 2017

Dear Students, Faculty, Classified Professionals and Administrators,

The new presidential administration’s executive order on immigration has prompted anxiety and outrage among many of us. How can we respond in ways that support those most affected, and also express our core commitments as a campus?

We are a community of inclusion and diversity, in a region defined by immigration and the gifts of our many cultures. The ban on admission to the United States of persons from seven specific countries is a blow to the long American tradition of welcoming struggling men and women to our shores.

It is the view of many that the executive order is unconstitutional, and its language of religious priorities for refugee status ensures that it will be interpreted as a Muslim ban. This is grotesque. It has been heartrending to witness the pain -- and very real emotional and financial expense -- to individual U.S. residents, soon-to-be residents and their families.

It is inspiring to know that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) received more than six times its typical annual donations over this past weekend alone, for a total of more than $24 million. We can all choose the ways we make a difference in this political climate that I know can feel deeply worrisome, saddening and frustrating, and engender a sense of powerlessness.

Some of our students were making a difference by protesting peacefully at airports this weekend, and I commend them for their engagement. I was honored yesterday afternoon to attend a student organizing meeting also designed to make an impact by revitalizing the Muslim Student Association (MSA) in the face of this new and omnipresent sense of threat. Our students, once again, are taking action.

I will reiterate what I wrote to you immediately after the election: Nothing from the presidential administration changes De Anza College's commitment to the principles of inclusion and equity, or our commitment to offer support to all members of the community. We hold all members of our community as full and protected members. We will never abandon these commitments, and we will provide support to all students.

If you are an international student from the countries the administration targeted, our International Student Programs counselors have been in touch with you, and the ACLU website may be a valuable resource. Please know that the college’s Psychological Services are available to you, to our Muslim students, and to any student of any background or faith who feels she or he needs strategies to deal with stress.

For our Muslim community members, in addition to the ACLU, there are other resources, including the websites for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC).

In community,
Brian Murphy

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