Supporting our Diverse and Global Community

April 3, 2017

Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community:

On Friday, Georgetown joined a group of 30 leading colleges and universities in filing an amicus brief outlining the impact of the recent Executive Order that bars entry into the United States of individuals from six Muslim-majority countries—Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen for 90 days.  The brief focuses on the importance of international students, faculty, and scholars to our campuses and the significant contributions they make to university communities, to our country, and to the world. You can learn more about the brief here.

We recognize the invaluable role that our Muslim and international students, scholars, staff, and faculty play—and the importance of protecting the ability of all members of our community to freely practice their religion.  We strongly support all of our students, faculty, and staff members and stand against discrimination based on race, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, political affiliation, disability, religion, and other protected characteristics.

Ours is a global community—one made stronger by our religious, cultural and international diversity.  Since our founding, and through the continuing efforts of generations, our University has been a place where people of diverse faith traditions, different nationalities and ethnicities, backgrounds and identities come together to be immersed in academic life—to learn, to be in dialogue, to serve, and to worship and pray—together.  Today, and as we have throughout our history, we will make the effort required of us to support, sustain, and advance our global character, our commitment to religious diversity and interreligious dialogue, our commitment to freedom of speech, and our work to promote dialogue and encourage civility.

We realize that many in our community are feeling vulnerable and concerned.  We are deeply attentive to the safety and security of all of the members of our community, and continue to provide support in a variety of ways.  In recent weeks, we have arranged for Know Your Rights trainings, free legal services to faculty, staff, scholars and students from the affected countries, and have reached out to our international applicant pool to let them know they are welcome at Georgetown.  We also continue to advocate for federal efforts in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, and federal legislation that would lead to a permanent path to legal permanent residency for undocumented students.  We have designated a University staff member as the “undocumented student coordinator” to support our students and direct them to helpful resources on and off campus, and we have arranged for free legal advice through Catholic Charities for our undocumented students.

As we continue our efforts in support of our entire community, I wish to invite you to a candlelight vigil this evening, Monday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m., in Red Square: “Standing with our Muslim, Jewish, refugee, and immigrant neighbors, friends and family.”  This event has been planned by our student leaders as part of a week recognizing our undocumented students, and I hope you will attend. 

You have my very best wishes.

John J. DeGioia