January 30, 2017
Dear Members of the Santa Monica College Community:
On Friday, January 27, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order that suspended all refugee admissions for 120 days, and blocked entry to the United States for at least 90 days for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Reports suggest that among those impacted are students of various colleges and universities within the U.S. The SMC International Education office is working on reaching out individually to enrolled students from the affected countries, to determine if they have recently traveled abroad.
I want to reaffirm that, at Santa Monica College, we pride ourselves on our diversity. We support the ability of all students attending our college to attend without fear or intimidation.
All SMC students, employees, and their families—regardless of immigration status, family structure, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, gender identity, or marital status—are equally valued within our community.
The SMC Board of Trustees, at their most recent meeting on January 17, 2017, passed a resolution which speaks to our continued commitment to the values of mutual respect, civil and human rights, and above all, the fact that Santa Monica College is and will continue to be a safe environment for all students and personnel. I am including the full text of the resolution at the end of this email for your reference or you can read it online.
Santa Monica College cares deeply about all the members of our community, and we believe that our strength lies in our diversity. The SMC mission statement makes it clear that we provide a "…safe and inclusive learning environment" and, in fact, equip our students with the skills to become key contributors to the global community through understanding our inter-relatedness with those who come from backgrounds and countries different than our own.
SMC is working closely with the statewide California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office and in turn with the University of California, the California State University, and the California Department of Justice, and we will update you with specific information as it becomes available. Also, Santa Monica College has a dedicated webpage with detailed resource information for students who have been or may be impacted by federal government policy changes.
If you have questions or concerns regarding the recent travel ban, please contact the SMC Office of International Education at 310-434-3466.
Santa Monica College stands in support of all the members of our community.
Kathryn E. Jeffery
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Full Text of Board Resolution in Affirmation of a Safe Environment of All Students and Personnel
(Approved unanimously by the SMC Board of Trustees on January 17, 2017)
Subject: Resolution – Santa Monica Community College District Provides a Safe Environment for All Students and Personnel
Whereas, the Santa Monica Community College District recognizes the rights of all students and their families, regardless of immigration status, family structure, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, gender identity, or marital status; and
Whereas, the Santa Monica Community College District Board of Trustees acknowledges that civil and human rights are deeply rooted in the fabric of democratic and principled societies; and
Whereas, prominent among Santa Monica College's institutional values are mutual respect, to treat one another with dignity, trust and fairness; to appreciate the diversity of our community, students and workforce in a collegial and cooperative manner; to positively engage the college community in developing a deep appreciation of, and collegiality among all cultures; and
Whereas, Santa Monica College is a leader and innovator in learning and achievement by fostering its core values: knowledge, intellectual inquiry, research-based planning and evaluation, academic integrity, ethical behavior, democratic processes, communication and collegiality, global awareness, and sustainability; and
Whereas, Santa Monica College is and will continue to be a safe environment for all students and personnel; and
Whereas, Santa Monica College will continue to work with the college community, national and state wide education leaders and elected officials to ensure that our students are able to pursue their educational goals.
Therefore Be It Resolved that the Santa Monica Community College District Board of Trustees stands united in continuing to provide a safe environment for all students who choose to better their lives through education and will maintain the following strategies to be consistent with the college's values:
The SMC Police Department should not detain, question, arrest any individual on the basis of suspected undocumented immigration status;
The District will not cooperate with any effort to create a registry of individuals based on any protected characteristics such as religion, national origin, race or sexual orientation;
No confidential student records should be released without a judicial warrant, subpoena or court order, unless authorized by the student or required by law.
Santa Monica College will continue to advocate for educational opportunities for all students regardless of immigration status.
It is Further Resolved that:
The Santa Monica Community College District reaffirms its current admission and financial aid policies regarding undocumented students. The College will provide confidential counseling services for undocumented students and DACA recipients regarding their educational goals;
The Santa Monica Community College District Board of Trustees reaffirms the College's commitment to create a campus atmosphere of respect by denouncing hate speech directed at immigrant, ethnic minority, religious and LGBTQ students and workers, and by informing the campus community of existing resources for reporting and responding to identity-based hate incidents; and
The Santa Monica Community College District will partner with local agencies including the City of Santa Monica, City of Malibu, the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, Santa Monica Police Department, County of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and non-profit agencies and legal services agencies to provide referrals to resources and support for families with deportation concerns; and
The Board of Trustees joins the University of California, the California State University and the California Community College system to formally request that the United States government preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows children of undocumented immigrants to pursue higher education in the United States.