Message from President Ojakian – Statement From CSCU President Ojakian Regarding Recent Executive Orders

Dear CSCU Community,

As a public higher education system, we are focused on the education and success of our students in a global society. We benefit tremendously from a vibrant multicultural and international presence and from the opportunity to learn and work with those from different backgrounds and experiences. We have and will continue to be open, inclusive and welcoming institutions for all students, faculty, staff and visitors. Nonetheless, given the recent Presidential actions, I’m writing to address concerns regarding the executive orders.

Last week the new administration signed executive orders that among other things, imposed travel restrictions on immigrants and refugees as well as revised deportation priorities for undocumented immigrants.

The Executive Order entitled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” creates a statement of policy with regard to withholding funding to sanctuary jurisdictions, establishing enforcement priorities for the deportation and other aspect of removal of undocumented persons in the United States. The Executive Order which created considerable disruption at the airports this past weekend was entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States”. It established a policy of banning entry for all refugees to the Unites States for 120 days as well as barring entry for citizens from Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Syria, and the Sudan for 90 days. An unfortunate consequence of this new policy is the potential detainment of students and professors from these areas.

We know this has caused an incredible amount of confusion and fear. We are currently gathering information to assess the impact of these executive orders on our students, faculty and staff.  If there are members of our CSCU community or their families who are impacted by these policies or if you are uncertain about whether these orders affect you, please contact your college or university president. In addition, given the lack of clarity around these orders and their enforcement, I would discourage undocumented persons and citizens from Iran, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, Syria or the Sudan from international travel due to possible difficulty re-entering the United States.

We will continue to support our students, faculty and staff and provide whatever services are available during this uncertain time.  In the meantime, as President, I will continue to reach out to Connecticut’s Congressional delegation, our faith leaders, and those in the business community who see the value in diversity and inclusion to share your concerns.

We are working with our immigration attorneys, the State Attorney General and the Governor’s office to understand the implications of these orders.  As more information becomes available, we will provide updates.  I ask that you support each other and be there for one another while we assess this rapidly changing situation.

Sincerely,

Mark Ojakian
President
Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (CSCU)