Skip to main content

A message from Ron Strauss, executive vice provost and chief international officer, and Elizabeth Barnum, director of international student and scholar services, Feb. 3, 2017

In Chancellor Carol Folt’s message to the Carolina community on Sunday, January 29, 2017, regarding last Friday’s Executive Order on immigration, she underscored the University’s commitment to being an inclusive campus, one where everyone should feel welcomed and valued. The Executive Order imposing immigration and travel restrictions on people from seven countries is contrary to the values of UNC-Chapel Hill. We are distressed about the impact of this Executive Order and are aware that members of our community fear its repercussions. We are also concerned about its impact on global exchange, scholarship, and research.

In light of the President’s Executive Order, we are forced to recommend that individuals from nations listed in the Order either not travel outside of the U.S. or consult an immigration attorney prior to doing so. Beyond this guidance, we are also taking other steps to support those who face difficulties due to the Executive Order or who are uncertain about what it means for them.

At Carolina, we welcomed our first international student in 1893. Today, we have more than 3,000 international students and scholars from more than a hundred countries. Many more students, faculty, and staff are the children and grandchildren of immigrants or have family and friends across the globe. They make our campus more vibrant and successful, and they are an integral part of our academics, research, scholarship, and service. This global community is part of what makes Carolina a special place. We want all who come here to flourish, and we ask you to join us in letting those who are experiencing distress right now know that we stand with them.

UNC Global is keeping up to date on the Executive Order, its implementation, and everything we can do to support our community through these circumstances. Among the steps we are taking now:

  • ISSS hosts a resource web page for those who are affected by these Executive Orders. The page is continually updated. Because this situation is fluid, we recommend continuing to check the page for new information.
  • ISSS has contacted all non-immigrant international students and scholars directly affected by this Executive Order to offer support and is hosting meetings for them as a group. If you believe this Executive Order could affect you and have not been contacted, we encourage you to contact ISSS.
  • Many other international students and scholars who are not from the countries listed in the Executive Order also have concerns about how this ban could affect their travel or immigration. We are hosting a Town Hall meeting for international students and scholars to address these questions at 4 p.m. on Monday, February 6, 2017, in the Nelson Mandela Auditorium at the FedEx Global Education Center.
  • We will continue to respect the privacy of all students, faculty and staff and will protect their personal information. We will only communicate about a person’s immigration status when required by law. We continue to protect the privacy of all student records as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and employee personnel records as required by the North Carolina Human Resources Act.
  • Our campus law enforcement, the UNC Police, does not collect or receive information about immigration status as part of normal operations.
  • ISSS provides support to students and scholars on immigration-related concerns. The office also provides contact information for immigration attorneys. Contact ISSS for more information.
  • Campus Health Services provides students with counseling and psychological services. Students who need support should contact Campus Health Services.
  • The Employee Assistance Program is available for staff seeking confidential counseling and wellness resources.
  • UNC Global upholds the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. The University supports intellectual freedom, promotes personal integrity and justice, and pursues values that foster enlightened leadership devoted to improving the conditions of human life in the state, nation, and world. We will continue to uphold all of the core diversity values of the University, and we prohibit and will investigate anyone who threatens, intimidates, or harasses any member of our community. If you believe you are being targeted on the basis of national origin, religion or any other protected basis, you should contact the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office.

We want to thank Chancellor Folt and our colleagues at the FedEx Global Education Center and across campus for all that they are doing to support our global community during this difficult time. Now, more than ever, we must reflect on why we are committed to international exchange—to foster cross-cultural understanding, to strengthen scholarship and academics, and to build bridges across differences.

This is a time of significant tension for many members of our community. We are talking with people affected and also hearing about concerns others have for them and their families. Please take the time to reach out to those affected and offer kindness and support. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to either of us.

Ron Strauss, Executive Vice Provost and Chief International Officer

Elizabeth Barnum, Director of International Student and Scholar Services