Response to Executive Order Involving Refugees and Immigrants

January 29, 2017
Understanding the Executive Order

Dear Wellesley community,
The leadership team and I are deeply concerned about the impact of the executive order issued by President Donald Trump on Friday, January 27, 2017, which, among other things, bars Syrian refugees from entering the United States and imposes a 90-day ban on nationals from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.
There is much still to learn, and the situation is in flux, but the scope and reach of this executive order affects us all. We find ourselves facing a new world; how we act will define who we are as a community. My goal in this message is to convey our unwavering support for any and all of our community members affected by this executive order. We remain dedicated to your safety and to your unimpeded ability to take your place as a valued member of this community.
Multiple federal courts have issued stays temporarily halting the removal of individuals detained at U.S. airports after the executive order was issued. It remains unclear, however, how the temporary stays will affect those already detained, and it will take time before a final legal resolution is reached.
In the meantime, we strongly advise Wellesley students, faculty, and staff from the affected countries, including those who are dual citizens and/or permanent residents, not to travel beyond the borders of the United States. In fact, we suggest that all immigrants defer travel outside of the United States while we await clarity.
Slater International Center and Wellesley’s Student Life team have taken the lead in working closely with those students who we believe may be directly affected by the executive order. There may be some whom we have not reached, and so we encourage you to share this message and to urge anyone who needs advice and counsel to contact us.
Students seeking information and assistance should contact Karen Zuffante Pabon, director of Slater International Center and advisor to international students and scholars, at 781-283-2084 or She and her team at the Slater International Center continue to work around the clock to provide support and guidance to all Wellesley community members in need. They are working in consultation with legal counsel that specializes in immigration matters.
Faculty and staff should also feel free to reach out to the provost’s office at 781-283-3583 or to Carolyn Slaboden, assistant vice president and director of human resources and equal opportunity, at 781-283-2216 or
The Muslim Chaplaincy at Wellesley provides ongoing guidance, counseling, and advocacy to Muslim students and alumnae. Muslim members of our community are invited to reach out to Amira Quraishi, Wellesley’s Muslim Chaplain who stands ready to support and advise you.
As promised, we are convening a working group of students, faculty, and staff to explore further actions we may take in the days ahead to ensure a safe and secure residential learning environment for all our students. We will also work closely with other colleges and universities, as well as with legal experts, to respond from a position of the utmost strength to the needs of our students moving forward.
At Wellesley, we embrace and honor difference and diversity. As a college, and as a community, we have opened our doors to the wider world because this expands our view, adds to our strength, and deepens our humanity. We are a community of global citizens—and this moment requires our very best.
As we move forward, our actions must reflect our courage, our moral leadership and our deeply held values of social justice and compassion for those who are being targeted.  At every step in our response to this situation, we must remember that this is not abstraction; the consequences are disturbingly real for so many individuals and their families. We are committed to upholding our values and protecting our community, the community that makes us strong.
Guided by our belief in each other, we intend to move ahead with confidence and with determination.

Paula A. Johnson