On Monday, the White House issued a revised executive order that severely restricts immigration and travel to the United States from six predominantly Muslim countries and temporarily bans refugees from around the world.
I wrote in January that the Trump administration’s initial immigration executive order clashed with universities’ core values, which are to encourage the free exchange of scholarship, knowledge and ideas — and the same is true of Monday’s executive order.
I share the concern of University of California President Janet Napolitano, that the new executive order will have “a very serious effect on those who seek to study, train, research and teach at UC and universities across the country, to the detriment of the UC community and the country as a whole.”
We are a politically diverse university, and I do not expect us all to agree on the wisdom of these policies. Regardless, we need to understand their impact on UCLA and the significant anxiety they are causing to many in our community. I and the rest of my leadership team are very concerned about the policy’s impact on our institutional mission, and on all of us — our colleagues, our friends and our families.
To that end, I am forming the Chancellor’s Immigration Advisory Council to analyze the impact of new policies on UCLA, recommend strategies for mitigating any negative consequences and advise me on the relevant needs and concerns of the UCLA community. The council will be guided by the skilled leadership of professors Asli Bâli and Abel Valenzuela and will draw upon the talents and expertise of many throughout our campus. Collectively, they will ensure that UCLA remains focused on and responsive to the needs of our faculty, students and staff during this challenging time.
Several UCLA departments will continue to provide critical information and support to our community on these issues. The Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion has developed a comprehensive webpage that lists resources and services available to those who need support, including the Dashew Center for International Students and Scholars, Counseling and Psychological Services and the Bruin Resource Center. I encourage you to use these resources if you have any concerns or encounter any problems.
In the weeks and months ahead, the work of the council and the services these offices provide will be a priority for me and our entire campus. Although these are uncertain times for many, I urge you to remember that, as a community, we thrive best when we support one another, remain committed to our shared well-being and bring our best thinking to our biggest challenges.
To the immigrant members of our community — especially those from the countries listed in the executive order — I want you to know that UCLA values your presence and your vital contributions to our campus. Your intellect, creativity and commitment to excellence are essential to our community. You have come to learn, to grow, to achieve your best and to make a better life, just like immigrants of every generation from around the world have done before you. You are, and will remain, welcome at UCLA.
Gene D. Block