January 30, 2017
Dear School of Social Work Community,
We are writing to address the mounting concerns in our community and elsewhere for the welfare of immigrants, and for the effect on the global academic community, following the executive order issued Friday imposing new federal travel restrictions. We want to provide the latest information about what is occurring and how the University of Maryland is responding. USM Chancellor Caret has issued a statement today that underscores our “tradition of welcoming talented individuals from all countries to our academic communities helps our country maintain its global leadership in higher education and enriches all of us.” [http://www.usmd.edu/newsroom/news/1695]
We also want to use the opportunity to reiterate our community and professional values. As an academic institution with students and scholars from around the world, we value the contributions of students, educators and researchers across all borders. The current policy and implementation situation are causing alarm and uncertainty for many people who are part of the academic community here in the United States, including some students at the UM SSW and alumni of the school. As social workers, our values also align with a just response that is free of bigotry and committed to expanding the odds for success for all. Our professional commitment and expertise call for a fair and just immigration system that is expertly implemented.
We also want to make our views clear that we will warmly embrace individuals from all countries to study, teach, and carry out research and scholarship in the School of Social Work. In 2001, we implemented a new visa system that helps to safely maintain the inflow of talent that has contributed so much to our nation and to befriend and support those who have trusted our country as their home. As practitioners of social work, with its deep commitment to achieving social justice, we expect that there will be numerous ways to make your views heard. Should you decide to become involved in having your voice heard in a public rally, we have attached an information sheet created by the ACLU to aid you. [https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights?redirect=know-your-rights-essential-resources-aclu]
Information concerning possible teach-ins or related events at the SSW, or on campus, will be publicized in the School’s Daily Bulletin. [www.mysswbulletin.info]
Additionally, we look to the Access to Justice collaboration with the School of Law for guidance on additional ways to understand and act on the situation; look for more to come on this initiative and activities now under discussion.
If you are aware of any specific needs of our students or alumni, please let us know and we will do our best to connect them to any legal or social services that might be beneficial.
Please also know that the UMB Counseling Center is a resource for extra support; they can be reached by calling 410-328-8404. [www.umaryland.edu/counseling]
Richard P Barth, Dean
Megan Meyer, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
Dawn Shafer, Assistant Dean for Student Services