Response to Sanctuary Petition

Dear Campus Community:

I welcome the sentiments expressed in the petition that was delivered to the UMass Amherst administration Wednesday, and want to assure our campus community that we will do everything within our legal and moral authority to protect our students, faculty and staff whether they be undocumented immigrants, refugees or international students. I and my administration are fully committed, as we always have been, to ensuring a safe and welcoming environment for every member of our community, regardless of immigration status.

We are pleased that the protections for our immigrant, refugee and international students called for in the petition are currently in place. We have no intention of weakening those protections in any way.

  • The UMass Police Department does not gather information about the citizenship or immigration status of our students or anyone with whom officers interact and we have no plans to alter this practice.
  • We are committed to protecting student confidentiality and will not share private information about our students unless compelled to do so by a court order.
  • While, as a state institution, we are bound to comply with state and federal law, enforcement of federal immigration policy is not within our remit.
  • We have no plans whatsoever to discontinue in-state resident tuition for DACA students.
  • We have a support structure in place to make accommodations for students who, in extenuating circumstances, cannot be present on campus, by providing appropriate online degree completion options.
  • We have tasked our International Programs Office to serve as a resource for counseling and information for international students and others with concerns related to immigration.
  • The Student Legal Office, which maintains a privileged attorney/client relationship with everyone who comes to them, stands ready to assist students with immigration related issues.
  • We will work with our community partners to further mobilize support for these initiatives.

Please be assured that the protections that are being called for in the petition are in place and that this campus administration is fully committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all of our students, especially those who are most vulnerable in these trying times.

Sadly, this petition comes to us at a time when, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, hate expressions and hate crimes have increased dramatically across the nation. I am acutely aware of the fear for personal safety, well-being and livelihood many in our community are experiencing, particularly those in marginalized groups. I am heartened by the activism of our students, faculty and staff and join them in their call for everyone to come together to stand against hate and intolerance.

And finally, I want to state unequivocally that acts of hatred and violence toward anyone on our campus will not be tolerated and will be dealt with swiftly and decisively through all available legal and code compliance channels.


Kumble R. Subbaswamy