Colby President David A. Greene reaffirmed the College’s obligation to support and protect all members of its community, in light of a White House order banning most citizens of seven countries from entering the United States. In an email, Greene stressed the importance of higher education in a democratic society—and the world—citing the leading role of U.S. colleges and universities in making positive global change.

Here is the text of President Greene’s January 29 letter:

As you are aware, on Friday, January 27, President Trump issued an executive order that bans most citizens of seven countries—Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen—from entering the United States. The order has been challenged in the courts, and many deliberations and changes to the nation’s immigration policies are likely to follow in the months and years ahead. With that in mind, I want to be clear about Colby’s values and obligations to our immediate community and to the important role higher education plays in our democratic society and the world at large.

Colby College has an enduring commitment to welcoming talented students, faculty, and staff from around the world and to engaging in educational and scholarly work on every continent. As always, our first obligation is to support and protect the rights of all members of our community. The recent executive order has focused our attention on those among us who might be adversely affected by this change in policy, and we are offering tailored assistance based on each individual’s circumstance. Please contact us if you know of members of the Colby community who would benefit from our outreach.

As the federal government enacts changes to immigration policy, we must also consider broader principles that form the core of Colby’s mission and the fundamental values of America’s higher education system. America’s colleges and universities are the envy of the world because of our commitment to free inquiry, to educating talented students from here and abroad, to populating our distinguished faculties with leading thinkers from all corners of the globe, and to scholarly collaborations that result in groundbreaking discoveries and improve the human condition. The leading position of our institutions of higher education and the positive impact they have on global progress are threatened by broad-based policies that restrict access to them.

I will be working with colleagues from across the country and with federal policy groups to do all I can to ensure that Colby and our fellow colleges and universities can maintain our openness and essential commitment to being worldwide centers of intellectual exchange and instruments of societal advancement.