President Kenny: ‘Our unequivocal support to all members of our community’

MBA from the University of Vermont

Robert P. Kenny

Since the Presidential Election in November, there has been heightened concern from the Goddard community and from campuses across the country about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students and others without legal U.S. residency status.

Issued by President Obama in 2012, DACA is an executive order that affords many undocumented young people two years U.S. residency and employment authorization. The order provides these young people and their families some relief from fear of deportation and is recognition of their basic human dignity and value to their communities and our country. As an executive order, DACA can be rescinded at any time by the next U.S. president.

Goddard College’s mission is to prepare students to take responsible action in the world. We reaffirm that mission when we commit ourselves to inclusion and social justice, and when we announce our unequivocal support to all members of our community, regardless of their residency or citizenship status. More than 250 college presidents – myself included – signed a letter to the next presidential administration to uphold Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. (Some 1350 staff and faculty have signed a similar letter, which you can find here.) I have every confidence that Goddard students are engaged in similar displays of solidarity and are also taking direct action.

DACA students and others without legal residency status are enrolled at Goddard College. The College will continue to vigorously defend their privacy, right to pursue an education, and place in the United States. While the term “sanctuary campus” has no specific legal meaning and affords no particular protections, please know that “No federal or state law prohibits the admission of undocumented students to public or private U.S. colleges and no federal or state law requires students to prove citizenship in order to enter U.S. institutions of higher education. Additionally, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits schools from providing any outside agency—including the Department of Homeland Security or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services—with any information from a student’s school record that would expose their immigration status without a warrant.” In short, Goddard College will continue to welcome all students regardless of residency status, honor their place in our community, and do all that is within our legal ability to ensure their privacy and freedom.

I share these thoughts and commitments with respect and sincerity,

Bob Kenny signature