IUP is a diverse and international community.
IUP’s students and faculty and staff members come from Western Pennsylvania and from around the world. We represent a wide variety of ethnicities, faith traditions, sexual orientations, and gender identities. We are the children of coal miners, the children of CEOs, and everything in between. We are Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. All of us have come to IUP to learn, grow, and serve together.
Friday’s executive order placing limits on entry to the United States for refugees and for citizens of seven nations has caused concern, confusion, and fear for many in the IUP community, particularly those from other countries and Muslims. As shown in news reports, the system of checks and balances built into the US Constitution is in the midst of sorting out the meaning, implications, and legality of the executive order. I expect the details to change frequently over the next several days.
In the meantime, there are a few things you need to know.
First, know that you are welcome here at IUP. You were a valued member of our community on Friday morning, and you are still a valued member of our community today and every day.
Second, IUP is a public university and must follow state and federal law. This includes adhering to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which places strict limits on the information we will share about students. If anyone asks you to reveal information about a student, including the student’s immigration or visa status, please refer the request to the Office of International Education.
Third, if you are planning to travel to other countries, please consult with either the Office of International Education (for students) or the Office of Human Resources (for employees) for the latest information on possible impact on your return to the US. The Office of International Education website will contain updates.
Finally, I call on each of you to stay the course we have set for ourselves—the course of inclusion and diversity and of mutual respect and civility. We are bound together by our shared aims to learn and grow and by the realities of the human condition. Building on this common base, our experiences are immeasurably enriched as we celebrate and share our diversity.
In this time of confusion and concern, please respect and care for each other. It’s the IUP Way.