A global community of scholars

University affirms statement of principles

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton has spoken out recently regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the executive order signed by President Trump on Jan. 27. In both of those communications, he underscored the global nature of our university community and our commitment to welcoming students, scholars, faculty and staff from all around the world. Building on those sentiments, Chancellor Wrighton today shared the following statement of principles:

Our university is a place where we draw strength through our differences, and where we want all to feel welcomed, respected and included. As a community, we must vigorously encourage the open exchange of ideas and perspectives. These are our core values. 

Further, the safety, well-being and academic success of all of our students, faculty and staff — regardless of immigration status, race, ethnicity, nationality or any other identity — is a high priority. On this point we will not compromise. Our university policies are clear: discrimination, harassment or assault will not be tolerated on our campuses.

Specifically related to how the university handles situations related to immigration status, we will adhere to these core principles:

  • First, the primary role and responsibility of the Washington University Police Department (WUPD) is to maintain a safe learning environment. WUPD officers are visible, accessible and dedicated to their primary goal: making sure that every member of our community and our visitors feel safe on and around our campuses.  As a matter of course, WUPD officers do not inquire about immigration status in carrying out their day-to-day responsibilities; they only will do so if related to criminal violations or threats of violent behavior. Further, WUPD does not detain individuals solely because of their immigration status. It  is neither the university’s practice nor expectation that WUPD will function as an agent of the federal government in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. WUPD will of course comply with lawful subpoenas or other legal requirements.
  • Second, the university will zealously protect the privacy of confidential student information and will adhere to the privacy protections granted to our students by federal law. The university will not release information about immigration or citizenship status to third parties unless required by court order or other legal requirement. 
  • Third, through the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), the university will provide information and assistance to all of our international students and scholars. Should the need arise for legal representation on behalf of students, faculty or staff, OISS will offer information about local resources.