Response to recent executive actions

The following email was sent January 30, 2017, to the Mount Holyoke community by Acting President Sonya Stephens.

Dear Members of the Mount Holyoke Community,

You may be aware of the message that we sent to members of our community on Saturday, following President Trump’s executive order barring all Syrian refugees and imposing a 90-day ban on immigrant and nonimmigrant entry to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim nations. Our first concern, as always, was to ensure the well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, acknowledging the fear and anxiety that they may be experiencing in this moment.

The impact of this executive order is both far-reaching and chilling, as well as completely at odds with our mission to educate for purposeful engagement in the world. Mount Holyoke is built on extraordinary international and domestic diversity. More than a quarter of our students come to the College from outside the United States, and the excellence of our teaching and scholarship is predicated on global understanding and perspectives, and the freedom of movement, thought, religion, and speech. Like others, we are deeply concerned by the discriminatory nature of the executive order and the lasting effects it will have on members of our community, and on global understanding, research, and education.

Our commitments to the Mount Holyoke community were outlined in a November 22 letter that responded to immigration concerns, notably the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. We stand by those commitments, including our opposition to discrimination against any individual on any grounds. A further reaffirmation of our values with respect to international education can be found on the McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives webpage.

The educational values that are threatened by this executive order are at the core of our identity and purpose. Be assured that we will continue to challenge ourselves and others on these issues, and that we will persist in promoting diverse perspectives, engaging in argument informed by evidence, and educating for meaningful change.


Sonya Stephens
Acting President