Last week, the University of New Mexico’s acting president, Chaouki Abdallah, issued a special communication to the campus community in response to President Trump’s executive order of …
Last week, the University of New Mexico’s acting president, Chaouki Abdallah, issued a special communication to the campus community in response to President Trump’s executive order of Jan. 27, 2017.
President Abdallah’s statement expressed concern for those members of the campus community who might be affected by this order. In addition, he cites potential changes in the status of students who had previously been protected from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a policy directive instituted by then-President Obama.
President Abdallah’s communication affirms the university’s position in providing support and assistance to affected students, faculty and staff. In addition, he sets in place his vision for a campus-wide environment that defends and protects all members, especially those most vulnerable to these changes in federal policy.
We at UNM-Taos enthusiastically adopt President Abdallah’s statement as our own position. We are in agreement with him and with other university administrators around the country who have spoken out about the negative consequences of this executive order. In an effort to assist any campus community member who feels threatened by these policy changes, we have provided links on our website to services that can help them find guidance. In addition, we encourage all members of the UNM-Taos community to reach out to anyone who might be in distress over these events.
By way of example, I was told that as students were awaiting the start of one of our classes, two students walked in, each wearing a hijab, and the entire class stood to embrace them. This is the kind of campus that President Abdallah envisions.
I therefore close with a quote from his communication: “As an institution, UNM will do all it can to support and protect members of our community who may be vulnerable to deportation or to exclusion from any of the rights and benefits we cherish. We are richer and stronger because of our many foreign-born students, staff, and faculty — and I am proud to be one of them. I remind you that the First Amendment to the United States Constitution affords every American citizen fundamental rights that help us as individuals to speak truth to power on behalf of those who cannot. I urge you to let everyone on campus know, especially those most affected by the recent events, that they belong with us.”
Hewlett is interim chief executive officer of UNM-Taos.
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