Executive Vice Provost and Dean of Students in the University: Information on Immigration Issues

To:  Members of the University Community
From:  Sian Beilock, Executive Vice Provost, and Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students in the University
Date:  January 29, 2017
Subject:  Additional Information on Immigration Issues

We are writing to follow up on the recent message from President Zimmer and Provost Diermeier affirming the University’s commitment to international, undocumented and DACA students, staff and scholars. Here we provide additional information related to the University’s response to the executive order that was signed on Friday, January 27, 2017, restricting travel from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and placing new restrictions on the U.S. visa process. 

Although there is still considerable uncertainty around these changes in federal policy, as the President and Provost have made clear, the University remains steadfast in its commitment to supporting the members of our community who may be affected. 

Since information about the executive order began to emerge late last week, the University has taken a number of steps to assist members of our community, many of whom are understandably anxious about the ongoing developments.

•       Staff in the Office of International Affairs (OIA) have reached out to current students and scholars from the seven countries referenced in the executive order to remind them that OIA is available to provide consultation on travel and resources available to them. At the current time, we are not aware of any members of our community from the designated countries who are currently abroad, but we are continuing our outreach efforts.

•       On Friday, OIA sent a message to all UChicago international students and scholars providing information about Friday’s executive order along with potential short-term impacts for international travelers, travel recommendations and details on how to seek further advice on individual situations. OIA has also been in contact with the Deans of Students across the University and UChicagoGRAD to ensure coordination on the issues at hand.

•       OIA is scheduling information sessions with experts in immigration law for our students, scholars and staff. Information about these sessions will be sent out to the international UChicago community and will also be posted on the OIA website in the days ahead. These sessions are in addition to the “Know Your Rights” program and pro bono legal immigration screenings the University is offering to undocumented and DACA students and staff, the most recent of which took place this past weekend on January 28, 2017.  

•       Additionally, OIA staff are available to attend departmental meetings, student group meetings and workshops to provide information on changes in immigration policy and law. Requests should be sent to OIA Director Tamara Felden (tfelden@uchicago.edu). 

•       The University, including OIA, the Office of Legal Counsel, the Office of Global Engagement, and the Office of Civic Engagement’s Federal Relations team are actively monitoring developments at the national and local level and working closely with our national associations to develop resources and respond on behalf of our community. 

•       The Student Counseling Service is offering weekly “Let’s Talk” sessions for students impacted by issues related to immigration status. These sessions are confidential and no attendee information will be collected or recorded. Sessions take place on Fridays from 3:30 to 5 PM at the Center for Identity + Inclusion (5710 S. Woodlawn Avenue). Students can also schedule individual counseling appointments by calling the SCS at 773.702.9800 (http://wellness.uchicago.edu/).

•       Additional information and resources will be posted and updated at the OIA website,https://internationalaffairs.uchicago.edu

We know that the implications of last Friday’s executive order and related changes to federal immigration and travel policies are serious and potentially disruptive to many members of our community. We want to assure you that we are giving these matters our utmost attention and will continue to do everything possible to support students, staff and scholars in the pursuit of their goals at the University. We urge anyone seeking assistance or advice — not just those from the countries referenced in the executive order — or those who have suggestions for how we may be helpful, to contact the Office of International Affairs (773.702.7752; international-affairs@uchicago.edu).