Sent on behalf of President Clark

Dear BSU:

Following President Donald Trump’s Executive Order on Friday effectively closing our nation’s borders to immigrants from seven Muslim countries, several federal courts acted quickly over the weekend to temporarily halt the implementation of the Executive Order.  These developments, coupled with news headlines and protests around the world, have left many in our BSU community concerned, confused, and in too many cases, afraid.

Understandably, Americans are openly wondering, as a nation, if we have somehow forgotten the sacrifices that have been made to establish and protect the very freedoms that we have held high as beacons of hope to the rest of the world.  Freedoms that have drawn millions of immigrants to our shores. Freedoms that are enshrined in our Constitution and in our very way of life.

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President Clark participated in Dear World Project. Photo by Dear World

I am writing to you today to assure every member of our campus that Bridgewater State University remembers who we are and what we believe in as a community.  We remember that diversity, inclusion, and equality for all make our university and our nation stronger.  We will continue to act accordingly.

More than a year ago, we reaffirmed our values and today, once again, BSU stands united.   Recognizing that many in our midst are increasingly anxious, my administration will exercise every authority that has been accorded to us to protect and assist our students, faculty, and staff during this unsettling time in our history.

The Minnock Center for International Engagement’s Office of International Student and Scholar Services is available to all members of the BSU community and is closely monitoring this evolving situation.  Please feel free to contact the director, Dr. Roopa Rawjee at roopa.rawjee@bridgew.edu if you have immediate questions or concerns.   Our professionals in Human Resources and Talent Management (Boyden Hall, Room 103; Extension 1324) are also available as a resource, and the Wellness Center is available for counseling and health issues (Weygand Hall, Room 1110; Extension 1331).

On Wednesday, February 1st in the Dunn Conference Suite from 11 am to 1 pm, the university will host a drop-in information session for interested members of our community to answer questions regarding immigration developments and specific impacts of those developments on individuals.  Every relevant campus resource will be available at the information session and an immigration attorney has also been invited to participate.

In recent days, many faculty, students, staff and alumni have expressed a desire to channel their concerns to support legislative and/or collaborative responses to the Executive Order and immigration policies of the President.  Following the encouragement of Chancellor Subbaswamy at UMass Amherst and President Barchi at Rutgers University, I would alert you to a newly filed bipartisan bill appropriately entitled the Bridge Act which seeks to provide legal protective status for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) students.  Additionally, for interested faculty, I have learned of a petition that has been circulating amongst academics to express their concerns.  The petition has already been signed by more than 7,000 academics across the nation, including 40 Nobel Laureates.

I am confident that our American democracy and our deeply instilled ideals will see us through the uncertainty and anxiety that currently confronts our country.  I have confidence because I see those ideals on display every day at Bridgewater State University.  We remember who we are, and so will our nation.

With warmest regards,

Frederick W. Clark Jr., Esq.

President

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