Statement on the Executive Order from CUNY Chancellor


January 29, 2017

Statement From Chancellor James B. Milliken

On Friday afternoon, the President issued an Executive Order that suspended entry of all refugees for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and for 90 days blocked entry for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, including holders of student visas. This action, which could affect approximately 120 students at The City University of New York, as well as some faculty and staff, has caused hardship and confusion for many across the country and beyond. While I understand it is the responsibility of the administration to keep our country safe, I believe that this Executive Order is inconsistent with the values of openness and inclusiveness that have made CUNY—and our country—great. Those of us who disagree with this policy should urge our elected leaders to change it. In the meantime, we will hold to the values that have been a source of strength at CUNY for 170 years, and we will offer legal assistance to affected members of the CUNY community who need it, through CUNY Citizenship Now, CUNY CLEAR, and other means.

There are few institutions that have done more to help this country benefit from immigration than The City University of New York. Today, almost 40 percent of our undergraduates were born in another country, and we are all the beneficiaries of their talent and ambition. Our commitment to protecting and supporting our students, regardless of their immigration status, is unwavering and includes the following:

CUNY will take no action to assist in the enforcement of the immigration laws except as required by law;

CUNY will protect student record information in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act;

CUNY will not turn over student information to immigration enforcement authorities except pursuant to court order;

CUNY will not request or gather information about students’ citizenship or immigration status in the course of providing educational or other services or in connection with public safety activities except as required in connection with tuition or financial aid eligibility; and

CUNY will not permit immigration enforcement officials to enter its campuses except to the extent required by a warrant or court order.

One of the greatest benefits of being Chancellor of CUNY is the opportunity to meet outstanding students and hear not just of their successes, but also their struggles to overcome obstacles. One that comes to mind now is the address that Orubba Almansouri, of City College, delivered as Salutatorian at commencement last year. Orubba described how, as a Yemeni immigrant, many in her family and village did not believe in higher education for women. She explained how she discussed with her father, over several years, her dreams, her passion for knowledge and her desire to study at CUNY. She won the argument. But certainly we at CUNY also won, and so did our city and country. That is why we continue to fight for our values and for the free movement of scholars who gain great opportunities and contribute so much to the world.


James B. Milliken

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Rally for CUNY Grad Student Saira Rafiee 1/30 at 1 PM

PSC-CUNY, the CUNY Dreamers, the University Student Senate, and Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams will hold a rally and press conference tomorrow at 1 PM at 25 Cadman Plaza East in Brooklyn to demand that Saira Rafiee, a student at the CUNY Grad Center, be allowed to travel to the United States to continue her graduate work. Ms. Rafiee, an Iranian citizen, was in transit by way of Abu Dhabi when she was forbidden to board a plane to New York and was detained for almost 18 hours. She has now been able to fly back to Tehran, but is still barred from reentry to the U.S.

The Facebook event page is here.

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To Students Attempting to Re-enter the United States

As of today, according to the New York Times, “There were numerous reports of students attending American universities who were blocked from returning to the United States from visits abroad.” If you are detained trying to enter the United States, the City of New York’s Immigrant Affairs Commission urges you to NOT SIGN ANYTHING. The commissioner is attempting to get lawyers to people trying to enter through JFK.

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Resisting the Trump Agenda: Teach-In and Workshop

Resisting the Trump Agenda: Teach-In and Workshop will be held on Wednesday, February 22, from 7:30 – 9 pm, at 61 Local, 61 Bergen St., Brooklyn. Facebook event page: Information and action are our best tools to oppose the incoming administration. Led by Brooklyn College* faculty, this participatory event encourages public dialog and mobilization on the following topics:


FEMINIST/QUEER ACTIVISM – Prof. Alexandra Juhasz


EDUCATION – Prof. David C. Bloomfield


*affiliation for identification purposes only


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PSC-CUNY Sanctuary Campus Meeting, Jan. 30

The PSC is hosting a CUNYwide meeting for students, faculty and staff who have been working on making CUNY campuses into sanctuary campuses:

Monday, January 30, 3 p.m., PSC Union Hall (61 Broadway, 16th floor)

The idea is to discuss where different campuses are in the creation of sanctuary campuses (including how they are defining that), what road blocks or challenges we have been confronting, and next steps at the campus and CUNY-wide level.

An RSVP is not required to attend, but if you plan to attend, the PSC would appreciate an email sent to Deirdre Brill at so that they have an estimate of how many people to expect. Also, note that an ID is required to enter the building. If you want to attend but doesn’t have an ID, please get in touch with Deirdre.

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Unity Rally, January 19

The City of New York and Mayor DeBlasio are hosting a Unity Rally from 6 to 8 PM on Thursday, January 19. It will begin at Columbus Circle and end at Trump Tower. The rally organizers have created a Facebook page. They have also explained the purpose of the rally, which is to show that:

We stand for addressing the problem of income inequality.
We stand for healing the relationship between police and community.
We stand for respecting immigrants.
We stand for treating our Muslim neighbors with respect.
We stand for the Affordable Care Act.
We stand for a woman’s right to high quality healthcare providers like Planned Parenthood.
We stand for addressing the problem of climate change.
And we stand for a fair and inclusive society for ALL.

Thursday. 6pm. Columbus Circle on 61st Street.

We stand united.

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