Dear Members of the Whitman Community,

Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump signed an executive order banning entry to the United States for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Fundamentally, I believe that this order, which is in direct conflict with the core values of Whitman College, is morally wrong. At Whitman, we seek to establish a vibrant community of individuals who are intellectually talented, have the potential to be leaders in and out of the classroom and are from diverse backgrounds both nationally and internationally. This order threatens that work for both Whitman and the broader higher education community.

Whitman does not currently have any students, faculty, or staff who are citizens of the seven countries mentioned in the order, however, that does not mean that this has not profoundly impacted members of the Whitman Community. It also has implications for our future classes including several applicants for the class of 2021 who are from affected countries.

Like many of you, I spent much of the weekend at a loss for words trying to understand the details of what was happening out of concern for our community and our nation. We will do everything within our power to protect the security and safety of our students, faculty and staff who are affected by changing immigration policy. In accordance with our existing practice, we will ensure the confidentiality of all student records and will not provide information about any Whitman students to any external group, including law enforcement and immigration officials, without a warrant or a court order.

The College has formed an immigration working group chaired by Kazi Joshua, vice president for diversity and inclusion. The group is made up of faculty, staff, students, and governing board members and will closely follow developments in immigration policy so we are best able to assist any students, faculty and staff who are affected.

Relevant information and resources will be posted to the College's webpage for immigration resources, which we plan to update in the coming days as additional information becomes available and we gather resources. If you have any resources to add to this webpage, contact Kazi Joshua (, 509-526-3018).

The office of off-campus studies will continue to monitor developments to ensure the safety of our students studying abroad or making plans to do so.

Our nation's policies on immigration are far from settled. There seems to be little consensus on how to move forward as a country. As a College, we need to look to our own values of inclusion, respect, care for one another, and a shared commitment to making Whitman a safe environment for every member of our community regardless of race, color, gender, gender identity, genetic information, sexual orientation, religion, age, marital status, citizenship status, national origin, disability, political beliefs, veteran's status, or contribution to public discourse on matters that relate to any of these subjects.

Now more than ever it is important to communicate directly with our elected officials. I have reached out to our own representatives to make our stance on this issue known and want to encourage all of you to make your views known.

We will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds and come together as a community to support each other. Students, faculty and staff with specific concerns should reach out to Kazi Joshua (, 509- 526-3018).


Kathy Murray