Institutional News

Statement on students’ immigration status

The following statement was issued by President Mariko Silver to the campus community recently.

The current political environment has raised concerns for undocumented and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status students across the nation given the possible changes in policy and practice that may come under the new administration. Bennington College will continue to support all of our students, regardless of immigration status, national origin, or religion.

Though we do not know what changes may occur, Bennington will support members of our community to the fullest extent possible while complying with the law. Specifically Bennington College will not assist Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the investigation of the immigration status of our students, staff or faculty without being directed to do so by a court or similar authority.

Immediately after the election, I signed a letter along with more than 500 other college and university presidents which reads in part:  “To our country’s leaders we say that DACA should be upheld, continued, and expanded…This is both a moral imperative and a national necessity. America needs talent – and these students, who have been raised and educated in the United States, are already part of our national community. They represent what is best about America, and as scholars and leaders they are essential to the future. We call on our colleagues and other leaders across the business, civic, religious, and non-profit sectors to join with us in this urgent matter.”

Going forward, we will continue to work with our higher education colleagues, and with our elected officials locally and nationally to understand any potential policy changes or legislative efforts, and to advocate for maintaining the DACA Program and to promote policies that are fair and supportive of our students and their families.

Bennington College will continue to use all of our intellectual and imaginative resources and all of our networks to sustain and extend our commitment to a culture of inclusion that is essential to a Bennington education.

The need for discourse and critical analysis has never been greater, the need to know and understand never more crucial. And so we make space, we make art, we ask questions, we examine the evidence, and we generate solutions. We listen to our fellow human beings. We get to work.