Last week's executive order on immigration has created apprehension and uncertainty in the OHSU community and in the communities we serve. I want to reiterate something I have said a number of times recently: all are welcome at OHSU. This is our stance, and we will not waver.
If you are an employee, student, trainee or visitor and have concerns about the new federal policy, please reach out to OHSU's Office of International Affairs/Department of Immigration Services for advice and assistance. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion is also available to provide support.
Restrictions on travel and immigration are creating a climate of fear that is toxic even for those not directly impacted. All of us in academia have international friends, family members, colleagues or collaborators who may be affected, or who may feel they are next. We value all, regardless of race, ethnicity and/or nationality. We also value a free exchange of ideas, made stronger by the inclusion of diverse perspectives representing many cultures and creeds. OHSU is aligned with the Association of American Universities in supporting immigration policies that "prevent entry by those who wish to harm us, while maintaining the flow of talent that has contributed so much to our nation."
At its heart, OHSU is a people organization. We are a group of diverse, talented and committed individuals working towards a common mission. To further our work, we recruit from every corner of the globe. We seek the best minds to wrestle with the toughest problems and we do so for the benefit of humanity. In our efforts to end cancer, stop HIV, beat heart disease, transform brain health, end blindness and treat kids and families, we cannot afford to ignore the contributions of any individual, no matter where he or she is from, no matter the color of their skin or what religion they practice. We recruit on a global scale. We partner on a global scale. We compete on a global scale, and we serve on a global scale.
Please be assured that OHSU will continue to monitor this situation closely and take appropriate action to protect faculty, staff, students, trainees and visitors. In the meantime, please know that while we are duty bound to follow the law, OHSU will not facilitate or cooperate with immigration enforcement activities. We will not share with the federal government confidential student, patient or employee information related to immigration status. The OHSU Department of Public Safety will not act on behalf of the federal government to enforce immigration laws.
If you feel targeted or vulnerable in this moment, please know that we stand with you. We welcome you, we respect you, we value you. Thank you for everything you do for OHSU.
Joe Robertson, M.D., M.B.A., President, Oregon Health & Science University.