In response to President Trump's Executive Order, the letter below was sent to our campus community.
February 3, 2017
To the Heidelberg Community,
In light of President Trump’s recent Executive Order to restrict international travel and entry to the United States for all non-permanent residents from seven countries for three months, and to restrict the admission of all refugees for four months, it is important that we come together as a community to reaffirm our commitment to understand, respect and learn from diverse cultures. We do this as we express support for appropriate and thoughtful ways to enhance our country’s security consistent with our strongly held principles of democracy and human rights.
Most importantly, we are unified in support of all our students and visitors who have traveled here from around the world, as well as their families and friends. This is a time that has caused emotional distress, and we want them to know that they are valued, supported and welcomed at Heidelberg, regardless of their background, ethnicity, gender, religion or political leanings. Our first priority is always the safety and well-being of all of our students. We reaffirm these same priorities and support for all of our faculty and staff too.
Our Educational Philosophy and Values state, in part, “Heidelberg is dedicated to being a diverse community that challenges students to understand their cultural heritage and the contemporary world.” Our “contemporary world” became a bit more confusing with this executive order. Responses have been swift and widespread, touching higher education, corporate entities and nearly every segment of our society. Personal reactions have been intense, emotional and filled with anxiety. As this issue continues to unfold and we learn more, I hope that we will use it as a springboard for new ideas to continue our support of international study and our understanding of the complex world in which we live.
Historically, Heidelberg University has always welcomed international students and scholars, who enrich our campus by sharing their cultures and perspectives, which are different from our own. They live alongside us and we learn from each other. This will never change.
We are a community that takes pride in our environment of inclusion. We will not tolerate disrespect or discrimination. Instead, let us appreciate the differences among us that lead to greater understanding, greater compassion and greater connectedness to our world.
I encourage each of you to think about how you personally will respond in your everyday lives to ensure that every human being is treated civilly, with respect and dignity. Our words and our actions are the strongest demonstration of this commitment, both institutionally and individually.
At a time when volatile issues can tend to polarize communities, I hope that each of us continues to stay informed and engage in conversations that bring us closer together in celebration of being a diverse educational community.
For students directly affected by the Executive Order, please contact: