Dear Campus Community:
The national discussion following the election has raised many concerns among our most vulnerable groups of students. We gathered on November 11 to remind our students of the support that our university has for all students and to remind ourselves that we have nurtured a caring, inclusive community at Western. Now, more than ever, we must reaffirm our commitment to the principles of diversity, inclusion and community. Our diversity webpage outlines many of these core values: http://wou.edu/diversity.
Last week I wrote each Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) student and reassured them that we remain fully committed to their academic success, safety and overall well-being. Our nation is largely a nation of immigrants, and we are part of the global community of nations. The influx of people from all parts of the world has made the nation better in every measure and we preserve our commitment to continue to revitalize our communities and country. At this time, we do not know the future status of programs such as DACA, but we are steadfast in our support for our enrolled DACA students.
Western Oregon University is a sanctuary for all of our students and we will remain a place where every student enjoys the sense of belonging to a committed community of students, faculty and staff. This means:
• Western campus security officers do not regulate or enforce immigration laws
• Western will not participate in immigration enforcement activities unless required to do so by law
• Western is committed to a safe, inclusive community and respects the rights of each community member to civil discourse
• Western will not tolerate threats or acts of discrimination and will strive to sustain a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of the university community
Our diversity statement reads: “Western Oregon University emphasizes diversity as a matter of institutional priority and an integral component of academic success.” As your president, I am fully committed to ensuring and reaffirming the values that make Western a safe and welcoming community. Moreover, I am pleased that the Faculty Senate of Western Oregon University, overwhelming endorsed our continued commitment to providing a safe and inclusive community that supports all of our students.
As we look to the future, Western will refer all external requests for immigration status of students to legal counsel to determine the legal basis for such requests. Furthermore, Western will remain actively engaged in national conversations, including support of national educational associations, regarding DACA and related programs designed to protect students and their pursuit of educational opportunities.
Rex Fuller, President