A Message from Chancellor Milliken
To the CUNY Community,
All of us at The City University of New York are immensely proud of our tradition, dating back almost 170 years, of providing the broadest access and a high quality education to New Yorkers, especially those from underrepresented groups and low income families and the many people who come to our city and country for opportunity. We have just gone through a difficult and contentious election season, and I heard from many of our students about the understandable concerns and anxieties this has created. I wrote to the CUNY community two weeks ago to reaffirm in the strongest terms our commitment to CUNY’s historic mission. Last week, I issued a statement specifically addressing the concerns of our immigrant students, assuring them that we will do everything legally possible to ensure their security and their place at the university. For CUNY, this is not just a pledge, it is a commitment demonstrated by our history as the clear leader among universities in this country in the support and services provided to immigrants.
Forty percent of CUNY’s undergraduates are immigrants, which is one of the primary reasons this university is so full of energy and ambition, and is such a vital contributor to New York’s success. We educate thousands of undocumented students and we lead the nation in the number of students supported with private Dreamer scholarships. CUNY’s Citizenship Now! is a nationally recognized program with offices in all five boroughs, providing a wide range of free one-to-one legal services, referrals to social services, reviews off legal status and assistance with applications. In addition, our campuses are providing counselling to students and staff, forums for discussion, and referrals to services. We have hosted widely popular Facebook live sessions for the CUNY community, with immigration advice from lawyers, student affairs advisors and other specialists. As part of our ImmigrantsMatter@CUNY campaign, we will continue our longstanding services and find more ways to serve our valuable community.
We are deeply gratified that Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have taken such strong stands on behalf of the immigrant community in New York, offering visible pledges of support, and we forwarded a special message earlier this week from Governor Cuomo to all CUNY students with important information about services the state of New York is providing. I have joined with a group of leading university presidents across the country in a letter to President-elect Trump urging that he retain the important, humane and beneficial DACA program initiated by President Obama, which helps thousands of undocumented residents and benefits our country by encouraging their contributions to our prosperity.
As we reflect on our families and communities on this Thanksgiving, as well as on our values, achievements and aspirations, I want to offer my thanks to the remarkable people, especially our immigrant students, faculty and staff, who work so hard to make CUNY special and to fulfill our mission and our promise to all New Yorkers.
James B. Milliken
The City University of New York
Dear Members of the CUNY Community,
Following the presidential election, many students at CUNY and at campuses across the country remain understandably anxious and concerned about the possible policies of the next administration. This is particularly true for the policies, which may not be articulated for some time, that could affect members of our community that CUNY has served since its founding – immigrants. Our immigrant community helps define who we are, where we have been and our future at this University. It brings passion, ambition, creativity and, perhaps most important, the dreams that are, in fact, the American dream. At CUNY, we have an unwavering commitment to providing opportunity to low income and underrepresented students and immigrants, a point of honor and strength that makes our mission so vital. As I wrote recently in a letter to all members of the CUNY community, this mission will not change, and the city and the country will be much better for it.
CUNY is the undisputed leader among universities in this country in the support and services we provide to immigrants on our campuses and throughout the city. That will remain the case. We have led the nation in the number of undocumented students with special scholarships to support their studies. We operate the extremely effective Citizenship Now! program, which has offices in all five boroughs, providing an array of one-on-one legal services, referrals to needed social services, reviews of legal status and assistance with applications. We also provide counseling for students on immigration issues on our campuses. This support is among the clearest statements we could make of the value we place on educating and assisting the people who have proven generation after generation that they will take their places among the greatest New Yorkers and sustain New York as one of the greatest cities in the world.
In response to the questions and concerns that have been raised by the recent election, we are taking a number of steps to support in every way we can our immigrant community. As we initiate these measures, CUNY will continue to review applicable laws and do all we can within the bounds of the law to ensure the security of all our students. Our colleges have been active in providing opportunities for counseling of students and staff, and have held forums for discussion and support.
As part of our “Immigrants Matter@CUNY” steps, we will be holding a two-hour Facebook Live session on Monday, November 21st, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to answer questions and address concerns. We will have lawyers, student affairs advisors and other specialists on hand to provide advice and referrals where necessary. We expect to hold another Facebook Live session later. All CUNY campuses will be publicizing our counseling services and ensuring that all students are aware of the resources on which they can draw for support. We will be posting a document with frequently asked questions and answers, which will be updated as needed.
We hope all affected students will take advantage of CUNY and college resources and appreciate the great importance we place on providing you with the support and services that will help you build your futures and strengthen our university and our city.
James B. Milliken
“In this time of national turmoil and division, I wish to reaffirm John Jay College’s commitment to building and sustaining just societies through fostering an inclusive and diverse community. We stand against speech and behaviors that offend, threaten, or insult anyone on the basis of religion, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or citizenship. John Jay is committed to the cause of justice. This mission carries weighty obligations now. We must continue to find ways to enact our commitment to all the dimensions of justice that are found on the walls of our college and play out in our classrooms, research centers, student activities, curricular offerings, research projects, art exhibitions and public statements – racial justice, gender justice, environmental justice, international justice, criminal justice, social justice, economic justice, and others. No other institution can claim this commitment to justice, broadly defined. For that reason, John Jay has a special obligation to dig deep, reaffirm our core values, and respond vigorously to safeguard those values in our community.”
November 20, 2016
A Message from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
After the harsh and ugly rhetoric of the campaign, many of you are concerned about what might happen next.
Let me be clear: This is the State of New York, not a state of fear. We will not tolerate hate or racism.
We have been and always will be a place where people of many backgrounds have come to seek freedom and opportunity. Almost all who live here can trace their roots to someplace else.
We cherish our diversity. We find strength in our differences. Whether you are gay or straight, Muslim or Christian or Jewish or Buddhist, rich or poor, black or white or Latino or Asian, man or woman, cisgender or transgender, we respect all people in the State of New York.
The Statue of Liberty is a proud symbol of American values, and she stands in our harbor. We feel a special responsibility to make her offer of refuge and hope a reality every day.
As long as you are here, you are New Yorkers. You are members of our community, and we will stand up for you.
The State of New York has strict laws against hate crimes and discrimination and we fully and firmly enforce them. It is illegal in this state to target, harass or discriminate against a person because of his or her race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender, religion, religious practice, age, disability or sexual orientation. We are a tolerant people, and cannot and will not let our freedoms be undermined.
New York State has a toll-free hotline where people can report incidents of bias and discrimination. Our responsibility is to protect all who are here, whether native-born or immigrant, whether documented or not. The hotline strengthens our efforts. Contacting us will not affect your immigration status.
New Yorkers who have experienced bias or discrimination should call the toll-free hotline at (888) 392-3644 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday.
If you want to report a crime or fear for your safety, call 911 immediately.
New Yorkers feel a particular affection for young immigrants. For centuries, our state has thrived on the energy and ambition of the young people seeking to build their lives here. Your intelligence, your creativity, your idealism enriches us all. You are welcome here.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo