Executive Order on Immigration: Simmons Responds

January 30, 2017

Simmons College Cupola

A message from President Helen Drinan.

The events of this past week have been felt deeply within our Simmons community and our nation—as well as across the globe. Recent actions at airports across the country left many with feelings of disbelief, uncertainty, isolation, and fear.

Simmons espouses values of inclusion that make it impossible for me not to react to these discriminatory actions that threaten the very fabric of our community. Indeed, Simmons is made up of individuals of a rich abundance of racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds, hailing from many countries of origin. The College community also includes individuals who are, as I am, proud descendants of earlier immigrants to this country. All of these individuals are welcome here and will continue to be welcome here as essential members of the Simmons family.

For members of the community who are feeling scared and worried, please know that we are here for you and stand ready to support you in any way that we can. I pledge the cooperation of every office on campus; all doors are open to you, and I encourage you to reach out if you believe we can assist you.

We will continue to monitor this situation as it develops over the coming days. In the meantime, I will repeat the values I committed to in December 2016. We will:

  • Uphold the federal and state privacy rights of students and employees in the event that law enforcement authorities request that we disregard them
  • Ensure that Simmons Public Safety Officers have no access to, and make no inquiries about, the immigration status of an individual
  • Confirm that Simmons Public Safety Officers do not enforce immigration laws or participate with Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) or U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in their work
  • Avoid discrimination of any kind on the basis of immigration status
  • Continue our legal employment practices which have never included the use of E-Verify, a government website used for checking the legal work status of an individual
  • Require government agents, including ICE, to follow applicable procedures for obtaining access to private information (including immigration status) about students and employees
  • Decline to provide private information to government agents unless compelled to do so by a valid warrant, a judicial order, or both, and only then after the determination of our legal obligations to comply by our General Counsel and external legal advisors
  • Provide a safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment for all members of our community

More than ever, we affirm our values and join together in solidarity for everyone in our community.