Oregon State University community members,
This past week, I have met with numerous Oregon State University students and heard from other members of our community concerned that changes in federal immigration laws may occur and result in deportations. Some members of our community also fear that the nation’s anti-discrimination laws and policies will be diminished.
These concerns are very personal and powerfully heartfelt. At this time, we must reaffirm our commitment to one another as a community, and must listen to and support one another regardless of immigration status, background or identity.
It is unclear at this time whether any federal changes will occur pertaining to undocumented students and those covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
But as an institution, let me be clear: Oregon State University is fully committed to diversity of all kinds, and we stand united for inclusivity and the safety of all people. Oregon State will be a sanctuary university for its students. As your president, I assure you:
OSU does not and will not enforce federal immigration laws.
The university will not facilitate federal immigration enforcement activities -- nor will it honor federal immigration information requests -- unless required by warrant, court order or emergency health and safety concerns. If OSU is ever so ordered, the university’s General Counsel will review any such order to confirm its validity and ability to be enforced.
Oregon State University will vehemently oppose any federal effort to create a registry based on protected characteristics, such as national origin, religion, sexual orientation, race, or other identities.
The university will only release student confidential information to federal agencies as required by law.
In accordance with state legislation, Oregon is already a sanctuary state. Oregon law provides that no state law enforcement agency--(such as the Oregon State Police that serves the OSU Corvallis campus-- can use state resources “for the purpose of detecting or apprehending persons whose only violation of law is that they are persons of foreign citizenship present in the U.S. in violation of federal immigration laws.” I understand that Governor Kate Brown is expected to provide further guidance on this law in the coming days.
I also understand that Oregon State student government leaders are considering how to best respond to and serve immigrant students with questions about their status and related legal issues. For example, free immigration legal services are available to students through ASOSU legal services.
Whether you are a student or an employee, it is possible that you simply need someone to talk with. If you are in need of personal assistance, and are a Corvallis student, please visit the offices of Diversity and Cultural Engagement, Institutional Diversity or the Division of International Programs. The Student Affairs Student Resources website also provides detailed information about support services. OSU-Cascades, students should visit their campus’ student resources website for assistance. Employees needing assistance may utilize the OSU Employee Assistance Program by confidentially calling 1-800-433-2320 at any time, or by calling the Human Resources Department at 541-737-3103.
In the next few days, I plan to meet again with students who have expressed concerns over federal immigration matters. I also plan to meet with and listen to other students and to learn how they are navigating these uncertain times.
As your president, colleague and fellow community member, I am here to help and lead all of us forward.
Edward J. Ray