On November 30th, President Clayton Spencer emailed the students, faculty, and staff informing them that Bates “recently signed an open letter to the President-elect Trump from college and university presidents affirming the basic values of human decency, equal rights, freedom of expression, and freedom from discriminating and pushing back against a climate of harassment, hate, and acts of violence.”
The “racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, and similar incidents” are “contrary to the values on which Bates was founded and they contribute to an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty.” Therefore, over 100 colleges and universities stated that they want a “continuation and expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.”
According to the letter to the community published by Clayton, “Bates welcomes applications from all students without regard to their immigration status, and applications for admission from DACA and undocumented students are treated the same as those from domestic students. Likewise, DACA and undocumented students are eligible to apply for institutional, need-based financial aid, and, as with all students, we meet the full demonstrated financial need of any admitted student.” The act of adding our name to the letter is not to be taken politically, rather it is a way to emphasize what are our values are.
Some or the colleges and universities that signed the letter are Amherst, Bard, Bowdoin, Colgate, Cornell, Davidson, Middlebury, and Williams. The short but informative letter is directed towards Donald Trump and begins with “as do you, we ‘seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.’”
It urges the President-elect to “condemn and work to prevent the harassment, hate, and acts of violence that are being perpetrated across our nation, sometimes in your name which is now synonymous with our nation’s highest office.”
President Clayton’s letter to the school discusses the personal fear many students have given their background, whether immigrant or LGBTQ+, therefore it is important to remember that we “have the responsibility to do everything within our power to defend our values, to ensure the safety of our students and protect them from discrimination, and to foster a campus climate defined by deep listening, mutual respect, and honest discourse on even the most difficult subjects,” especially since we do not have control of what is happening in the world.