A Post-Election Statement from Sarah Lawrence College

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The previous ten days have elicited or renewed many feelings, conversations, and concerns regarding our physical and emotional well-being. Instances of bias and harassment around the nation, concerns about support for international students, and the impact of the election upon the educational future of "undocumented" students have been top of mind for many people.

The safety of every member of this community is our number one priority. Efforts on and off campus have been implemented—and will continue to be developed—to improve safety. A single bias related incident or instance of harassment is unacceptable and is one too many for our community.

International students with visas, “undocumented” students, and students with “undocumented” family living in the US feel especially vulnerable given the president-elect’s apparent anti-immigration stance. President Lawrence and college leadership want all members of the community to know that the College is prepared to work with its Congressional delegation and federal, state, and local authorities to protect the safety and well-being of all our students and their families throughout the country. We have done so in the past and will do so in the future.

President Karen Lawrence has signed an open letter from college presidents to president-elect Trump, calling on him to “reaffirm the core values of our democratic nation: human decency, equal rights, freedom of expression, and freedom from discrimination.” The letter was featured in a November 18 article in Inside Higher Education.

Since the presidential election, we have been confronted with many complicated issues. The resulting dialogue engaged our classrooms, offices, residences, and our mentors, family, and friends. These conversations and efforts must continue to develop. We ask that all members keep in mind the College’s Principles of Mutual Respect, below, as we strive to understand and work through these issues. During this time, we have the responsibility to foster respectful debate and listen to one another even when those opinions are different from our own.

Sarah Lawrence College As a Sanctuary Campus: A Message from President Karen Lawrence

In recent days, we have started to see calls at colleges around the country for campuses to designate themselves as sanctuaries: protecting the rights and well-being of all enrolled students regardless of national origin or citizenship status. Sarah Lawrence College has always unequivocally embraced this principle and will continue to defend it. To underscore our commitment, we join the small but growing number of institutions that consider themselves sanctuary campuses. For us this means that:

  • All students, regardless of citizenship status, have equal protection under the College’s community standards and principles of mutual respect.
  • The College will not participate voluntarily or willingly in any effort by federal authorities to deport any student, faculty, or staff member solely on the basis of citizenship status.
  • The College will use, to the maximum extent possible, its relationships with local, state, and federal authorities to protect the rights and interests of any students, faculty, and staff at immediate risk of deportation.

The true promise of sanctuary depends on a community that can see beyond its differences to uphold shared beliefs. Now is such a time to demonstrate that resolve for the benefit of those who are part of this learning community—and to signal more broadly and definitively the extent to which we care for our own.

Karen R. Lawrence
President, Sarah Lawrence College

President Lawrence joins leaders from colleges and universities around the nation in signing a statement in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and undocumented immigrant students. Read the statement


The Principles of Mutual Respect

  • As a community, we respect those with whom we live, learn, and work at Sarah Lawrence College: students, staff, and faculty.
  • We aspire to work with integrity and honor.
  • We foster honest inquiry, free speech, and open discourse. We seek wisdom with understanding.
  • We embrace our diversity in all its dimensions.
  • We respect one another’s privacy and honor personal boundaries.
  • We are responsible and respectful in all of our communications.
  • We work to keep our campus and its natural environment a beautiful and welcoming place, and to leave it in a better state than we found it.
  • We endeavor to inflict no harm on one another, in word or deed.
  • As a community, we strive to support one another in upholding these principles.

About Sarah Lawrence College

Founded in 1926, Sarah Lawrence is a prestigious, coeducational liberal arts college that consistently ranks among the leading liberal arts colleges in the country. Sarah Lawrence is known for its pioneering approach to education, rich history of impassioned intellectual and civic engagement, and vibrant, successful alumni. In close proximity to the unparalleled offerings of New York City, the historic campus is home to an intellectually curious and diverse community.