The following is the list of demands sent by organizers of the Rally against the Immigration Ban to our staff, reproduced in its entirety:
‘Since the January 27, 2017 Executive Order banned citizens of seven Muslim majority countries from entering the United States, several members of the Amherst College community have lived in fear and uncertainty. This discriminatory order unduly restricts the freedom of movement of these students, staff, and faculty; seriously damages their future educational and employment opportunities; and puts their basic well-being in jeopardy.
Given this alarming threat to members of our community, the official statements released by President Martin did not meet the needs of those who are directly and indirectly impacted. President Martin’s campus-wide email neglected to swiftly condemn the order as antithetical to the College’s values. Furthermore, the failure to guarantee concrete material and legal assistance also betrayed the College’s apathy towards the emotional and physical welfare of the affected members of our community. Amidst the chaos provoked by the order, the International Students Office did not reach out to the distressed students. Once again, the International Students Office failed to live up to its stated purpose of “providing international students with immigration and visa advising, programming, and support.” The Office’s repeated inability to meet the pressing needs of the college’s international students stands in direct contradiction with the college’s stated mission to “educate men and women of exceptional potential from all backgrounds.” We have five demands:
- Within the next 24 hours, the College must publicly condemn the Executive Order, “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” Peer institutions including Boston University, Yale, Cornell, Harvard, and Princeton have already issued clear condemnations of the order, to which President Martin’s statement pales in comparison.
- Within one week, the College must provide concrete legal and material support to those affected, regardless of their specific legal status. This includes:
- Providing one-on-one legal consultation and representation for students, staff, and faculty members who are directly or indirectly impacted by the executive order, or whose citizenship status puts them at risk
- Committing to provide legal aid for students, staff, and faculty members who are, now or in the future, detained or prevented from reentering the United States while traveling, including but not limited to emergency contact information for legal counsel
- Committing to meet the housing, living, and academic needs of students, staff, and faculty members who are, now or in the future, detained or prevented from reentering the United States while traveling
- Committing to meet the housing, living, and work needs of students, staff, and faculty members who are, now or in the future, unable to leave the United States as a result of the executive order
- Within one month, the College must recognize the shortcomings of the International Student Office in meeting its intended purpose. This includes:
- Investigating the office’s repeated failures to reach out to international students, especially in times of considerable relevant policy changes
- Hiring additional staff specifically trained and competent in legal matters pertaining to foreign nationals (the College must at least initiate the search within a month)
- Ensuring that the International Students Office be proactive and responsive to student input
- Given the likelihood of increasing uncertainty in the near future under the current administration, the College must meet its own promises to its students by responding more quickly and proactively to changing policies.
- The threats posed to members of the Amherst College community are part of a political paradigm shift that is national in scope, and peer colleges and universities have already condemned the actions of the current administration and committed themselves to meeting the needs of their community members. Recognizing this, the College must join in efforts to build a coalition of institutions that will collectively stand in defense of members of their communities impacted by these increasingly violent and racist policies.
Until the College affirms that it will meet each of these demands, students will not cease their sit-in at the Office of the President in Converse Hall.’