September 7, 2017
To the Douglass Community,
I am very excited to embark on a new school year and send you my very best. While this is an exciting time of the year, it is also a time when our nation is undergoing threats to the values of equity, justice, and fairness. The tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia and the announcement made by President Trump’s administration regarding the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for undocumented immigrants stand against the cherished values of our university.
I condemn, in the strongest terms, the acts and statements of racism, anti-Semitism, and white supremacy that we witnessed in Charlottesville. The actions and statements of hate groups, including the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and other white supremacist groups, are inimical to the values of Douglass and all of Rutgers, and are morally reprehensible.
I disagree, again in the strongest terms, with Trump administration's decision to end DACA. This policy decision does not mirror the values and mission of Douglass and Rutgers.
In fact, Rutgers President Barchi and the four Chancellors at Rutgers are unequivocal in speaking against the termination of DACA and have made it clear that "nothing has changed in regard to our students’ relationship with Rutgers." Be assured that the university is committed to the degree completion of every student.
The future of many undocumented students now lies in the hands of the U.S. Congress as they are urged to pass a legislative solution within the next six months. The university is advocating for legislation to ensure that undocumented students will be afforded the education they deserve. Please read the joint statement from President Barchi and the four Rutgers’ chancellors which gives information on President Trump's decision and the steps that Rutgers is taking (click here). Additionally, please see the letter from Chancellor Dutta, which gives detailed information on the services available to students (click here). I encourage you to take action by filling out the letter template that Dr. Barchi provided in his statement. I’ve included the link here to the Rutgers advocacy website so that you can advocate for undocumented students. Taking action to show your support is easy—it will take no more than a minute or two of your time.
I recognize the stress that the events of the last few weeks is having on our students and Douglass staff. At Douglass we embrace a diverse student body with differing viewpoints, backgrounds, and beliefs. We value every student’s experience and work to preserve our community as a place to live, study, and exchange ideas in safety. Douglass, and its traditions, urge us all to continue to engage in debates, actions, and inquiry even, or especially, in the face of challenge. Our community will thrive as we participate in discourse that grows from honesty, mutual engagement and respect.
On Wednesday, September 13th at 7:00 p.m., I invite you to join me, other members of the Douglass staff, and students to begin the dialogue about the events of the past weeks. The discussion will be held in the Albers-Schonberg Room (Ludwig building) and pizza will be served. I urge you to come together in an environment where your thoughts and emotions can be shared in safety. I urge you to help us find solutions to support our community at this vital time in our history. I look forward to hearing from you next week.
Although registration is not necessary, I encourage you to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If at any time you want to talk about your concerns or have ideas or suggestions regarding these matters, please feel free to contact me (DRCDean@echo.rutgers.edu) or Allison Antwi (Allison.Antwi@rutgers.edu), Chair of the college’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Jacquelyn Litt, Ph.D.
Dean, Douglass Residential College and Douglass Campus
Professor, Sociology and Women & Gender Studies departments