Grinnell's Commitments

January 30, 2017

Special Campus Memo from President Kington

Dear Grinnell Community:

An executive order went into effect on Friday Jan. 27, 2017, barring immigrants from seven countries. I am deeply concerned for our students, faculty, and staff from the targeted countries. I believe our entire community shares this concern. Please know that we value contributions all students make to our campus.

I would like to assure all students, but particularly those who may be affected by this executive order and other related policies, that we will do everything in our power to support them so that they can complete their degrees. This is an ongoing, unfolding situation, and we are monitoring it closely. Meanwhile, we are exploring what such support could mean, whether it's arranging for affected students to stay in the U.S. during the summers, providing financial aid, etc. Grinnell College is not under obligation to share confidential student records with law enforcement agencies (federal, state, or local) without a subpoena.

As more information becomes available and plans are made, we will make updates to the website of the Office of International Student Affairs as well as GrinnellShare. The Office of Student Affairs is planning an event this week to show that diversity is a core value at Grinnell. Watch for an email from Student Affairs.

Banning immigrants based on their faith and country of origin is in sharp contrast with Grinnell's values. For one thing, as Grinnellians, we recognize that we live in a distinctly global world and value the interconnections presented to us by doing so.

No matter what policy changes may be coming, Grinnell will hold fast to our core values and commitments. Success is dependent on these things:

  • Scholarly and respectful discourse open to all ideas
  • Supporting all of our students no matter where they were born
  • Promoting access to Grinnell's excellent education for academically talented students
  • Believing in the essential power of the humanities to reflect and interpret the human experience
  • Trusting the tenets of science and replicable findings to improve the lives of all people
  • Using the social sciences to better understand human society and behavior
  • Supporting victims/survivors of sexual assault and violence
  • Creating an inclusive and respectful learning environment for people with hidden or visible disabilities
  • Promoting healthy behaviors
  • Participating in a global community as global citizens

The College will work hard to continue advancing these principles and values, but we're not perfect. We will make mistakes, but we should expect to learn from them.

As students, you are learning to think critically and express yourselves effectively. I hope you will also consider how those skills translate into engaged citizenship of our country, the more than 50 countries represented in our student body, and the world. By doing so, you'll help carry on the tradition of our founders who were all active abolitionists. Martin Luther King Jr.'s words, spoken in Grinnell in 1967, are as relevant today as they were then when he urged people to "remain awake during a revolution."


Raynard S. Kington, President

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