Letter to students from Provost Persis Drell

Provost Persis Drell sent the following letter to students on Feb. 17, 2017.

Dear Undergraduates, Graduate Students and Postdocs:

Since I first emailed you a little over two weeks ago, I have been talking with many people across our campus community about issues important to them.

One thing I’ve heard repeatedly, particularly from students, is the value of open communication from the campus leadership.

I agree. In that spirit, I’m writing to share some further information – not about every topic we might discuss, but about two immediate things that may be of interest to you.

First, Marc Tessier-Lavigne and I will be holding a “brown bag” town hall for the campus community on Monday, Feb. 27, at 12 noon in the Oak Room of Tresidder Union. I hope you will consider attending.

This is an informal opportunity for Marc and me to chat with members of the campus community. We’ll share some updates on campus activities, and we’ll be interested in hearing questions and concerns on your minds. Please grab your lunch and join us!

Second, I want you to know that the university continues to pay close attention to all of the issues of concern to our international and immigrant communities, including the fallout from the executive order issued on Jan. 27.

That order has been temporarily suspended by the courts. But from my conversations around campus, I know that many members of our community are anxious and concerned, and they want to know what the university is doing on these issues. For those of you who are feeling vulnerable, please know that we at Stanford will do everything we can to protect you and to support you in this difficult time.

I’ll say more below, but one key thing you may find helpful is the centralized website we’re using as an ongoing resource for the campus community. The site includes a “Getting Help and Support” page with information on getting help with questions and concerns, events occurring on campus, resources available outside the university and other topics.

That website also describes many of the things we have been doing to support the campus community. They include the following:

  • The Bechtel International Center has been mobilized as a first point of contact for those with questions and concerns, and is working with expanded staffing in Stanford Law School’s Immigrants’ Rights Clinic to get individuals connected to legal assistance.
  • Bechtel is offering group information sessions every Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. for those who have immigration concerns in the context of the executive order. Other campus units, such as BEAM, are offering sessions on specific topics as well.
  • CAPS, Bechtel and the Markaz are providing expanded emotional and mental health support services.
  • We continue to advocate at the federal level for policies consistent with our mission and values, working in partnership with our peer institutions. Stanford also has joined other universities in amicus briefs challenging the executive order in court as damaging to our academic mission.
  • We have worked to provide more detailed information about Stanford’s strategy to protect all members of our community, regardless of immigration status, and what that means for privacy of records, the role of campus police and other matters.
  • We have a working group that is meeting regularly to identify emerging needs and questions important to our international and immigrant communities, so that the university can further enhance its support.

Every member of the Stanford community belongs here and is valued. We will continue working on your behalf, and we will continue listening carefully to your concerns and suggestions.

As always, you are welcome to email me with your thoughts at persis@stanford.edu or provost@stanford.edu. I look forward to being in touch!

Persis Drell