January 29, 2017

Dear Members of the Trinity College Community,

As many of you know, on Friday, President Trump signed an executive order suspending entry to the U.S. by citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen and severely restricting refugee admission to the country (temporarily for some and indefinitely for Syrian refugees).

Today, as court challenges to the executive order continue to mount, the precise implications for our own community aren’t yet clear, and I expect that to be the case for some time. We have reached out to express care and support to Trinity students who may be directly affected — those from one of the countries whose citizens would be barred from U.S. entry temporarily or indefinitely. We are working to determine whether and how any faculty or staff might be affected as well.

What we can say now is that Trinity will continue to support our community members regardless of their religion or country of origin, and we will continue to work to foster an inclusive campus environment in which all students feel welcomed and safe and have equal opportunities to engage in a Trinity education and to succeed. To those students, faculty, and staff who need or want support, it is available in many places and from many individuals, and I encourage you to reach out to one or more of the following offices: Dean of the Faculty, Dean of Students, Chaplain’s Office, Human Resources, and International Students and Scholars.

We will keep you informed as we endeavor in the days and weeks ahead to determine the effects of this executive order and ensuing court action. Early this week, I will be in Washington to attend the annual meeting of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities and to meet with members of our congressional delegation. I am certain this issue will be top of mind in our meetings and conversations. And I assure you that I will be working with my counterparts at other institutions to vehemently oppose any discriminatory policies or practices that stand to have a profoundly negative impact on our educational mission and that defy the ideals and values of an enlightened, free society.


Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience