Late Friday, President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States,” which had the immediate effect of suspending admissions into the country of refugees, immigrants and citizens of seven majority-Muslim nations.

There is considerable uncertainty around these executive actions, as federal judges are already hearing opposing arguments and issuing rulings delaying implementation of the orders, and protests are being staged in cities, and on college campuses, across the nation.

Without question, these events are creating an environment of hostility and fear, particularly for those living among us—including our family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and classmates—who were not born in the United States.

Please know this:

Wherever you were born, and however you may have found your way to our campus, the mission and core values of Northern Essex Community College, as created by our faculty, staff, students and community, and as approved by our Board of Trustees and the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, apply to you equally:

NECC Mission Statement 

At NECC, our mission is to educate and inspire our students to succeed. We provide a welcoming environment focused on teaching and learning—strongly committed to unlocking the potential within each student and empowering our diverse community of learners to meet their individual goals. We are a community college dedicated to creating vibrant and innovative opportunities that encourage excellence and enhance the cultural and economic life of our region. 

Culture of Inclusion 

Northern Essex Community College strives to be a model of diversity and inclusion; the campus community reflects the layers of cultural and self-identity that proudly make up our region, nation, and world. We respect, value, and celebrate the strengths, characteristics, and perspectives of all and promote an inclusive environment that leverages the unique contributions of each individual, group, and organization into all aspects of our work.

We have students, faculty, and staff at NECC from countries all around the world, including Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Gabon, Haiti, India, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, the Philippines, Guatemala, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe.

Their contributions to teaching, learning, research, and community engagement are a vital part of who we are and what we do—and have been since our founding more than fifty years ago.

Ensuring that NECC remains a model of diversity and inclusion, and that our campus community reflects the layers of cultural and self-identify that proudly make up our region, nation, and world are vital.  The leadership of NECC is committed to these core values, to protecting the opportunities and rights that are available to all members of our campus community, and to doing whatever is possible within the law to continue supporting students and staff from all around the world.

We share this commitment with the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education, and Commissioner for Higher Education, Dr. Carlos Santiago, who recently made these comments about concerns of students protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and pledged to do “all I can to support our institutions as they strive to provide a safe and productive environment for all of our students.”

NECC is one of more than 600 colleges and universities that has signed a letter supporting the DACA Executive Order, which provides a window of time and protection for young immigrants that meet certain criteria to qualify for in-state tuition and complete their academic studies before action is taken on their residency status.

The college, and other colleges and universities in the state, also supports bipartisan proposed legislation known as the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act that would allow individuals in the U.S. who arrived as children to remain for three more years without the threat of deportation, while Congress considers changes to the immigration system.

Additional information for undocumented and DACA students considering or attending NECC can be found here.

 

In 1961, the year that Northern Essex Community College enrolled our first students in classrooms at the Greenleaf Elementary School in Haverhill, our state’s own President John F. Kennedy addressed the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, conveying to them that, “Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies. Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder. What unites us is far greater than what divides us.”

Today, more than half a century later, the evolution of technology, economics, international alliances, and enlightened minds have transcended borders and made us all global neighbors and partners; and our best interests around the world, and right here in Haverhill and in Lawrence, are in embracing not what divides us, but all that unites us.