As it has on campuses across the U.S., the start of the spring 2017 semester has been an uncertain time for many international students and scholars at UNH in light of executive orders on immigration issued by President Trump. While a second executive order taking effect March 16 did address a number of challenges in the first one, some members of our international community continue to face stringent immigration policies and travel restrictions. (View the full text of these executive orders).
As the interpretation and implementation of the executive orders continue to evolve, there is anxiety about how the orders will be enforced. The Center for International Education and Global Engagement, and especially the Office of International Students and Scholars, wish to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the UNH and Durham communities for their support.
President Mark Huddleston, Provost Nancy Targett, and the UNH administration stand firmly behind UNH international students, staff, and scholars and have expressed that they are integral members of UNH and their contributions to and participation in the UNH community are highly valued. Furthermore, the university administration will advocate for their rights to pursue their studies and work at UNH. This message was reiterated by UNH Police Chief Paul Dean with his assurance that he and his team serve all members of the UNH community. In an email to the UNH community, President Huddleston and Provost Targett joined with leaders of research universities across the nation “to continue to express serious concern about curtailing lawful immigration to the United States.”
President Huddleston recently shared an evening with international students and scholars to hear their experiences and better understand their concerns, hopes and ambitions. Students directly affected by the executive orders have said that knowing that their friends, fellow students, professors, and staff stand with them is reassuring.
As a world-class research institution, UNH attracts the best and the brightest from around the world. Research, study, and cultural learning experiences are of the utmost importance to international students and scholars. Unfortunately, the recent changes to immigration policies are a distraction to those pursuits. After speaking with many international students, especially those directly affected by the executive orders, it is apparent that what they most want is to resume ‘life as usual’ at UNH—to focus on their studies and prepare for their careers. We will continue to support them in achieving goals in an inclusive academic community.