McGill and the US immigration Order
Last Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order making significant changes to U.S. immigration policy. Since then, questions have been swirling about how different individuals with different immigration status might or might not be affected by the new, stricter policy.
I wanted to let you know that McGill is actively seeking answers from the U.S. Consulate and the federal Immigration Department.
This is what the US government has made available so far. Answers to many questions on whether one can enter the US or not are made available on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website.
However, please keep in mind that rules and their interpretation by customs and immigration officials and by airlines may change with little notice, even once one has started on a trip. Always double check with Canadian and US authorities before making a final decision about whether to travel to the US or not
Please also remember that:
- The decision to allow entry into the United States is made at the discretion of the U.S. immigration officer. Expect delays during the clearance process due to possible additional screening measures. Further details will be provided as they become available. See the Government of Canada page on US travel for more detail.
Until the situation is further clarified, our advice is that those members of the McGill community who hold citizenship from one of the affected countries should very carefully consider whether to travel to the United States or not, while those who have some connection to those countries should exercise caution and attempt to confirm beforehand that such travel will not present difficulties. International Student Services has posted a message on its website indicating that travel to the U.S. for any immigration documents should be avoided.
We will share more information with you as it becomes available.
In the meantime, I would like to draw your attention to Principal Suzanne Fortier’s statement to the community in support of a statement published by Universities Canada on this subject.
We understand that many in our community may experience periods of stress as a result of this executive order. Please, make use of our services if that is the case. We are here to help.
Deputy Provost (student Life and Learning)
Winter Welcome/New Initiatives
I hope you are settling into 2016. The semester is now well underway and start-of-term activities are mostly behind us. Having recently attended Activities Night, I was thrilled to see the diversity of groups and initiatives our students are engaging with. I am fortunate to be able to support our students, who are among the most motivated and dedicated in North America.
At Student Life and Learning, we want to facilitate continued student engagement both inside and outside the classroom. The seven units that make up SLL work together to make every McGill experience as inspiring, supportive and fulfilling as possible. As part of this mission, SLL is actively developing new and exciting initiatives across campuses. Here are just a few of the initiatives.
Safe and Healthy Learning Environment
- A holistic Mental Health and Wellness strategy, developing in conjunction with related projects, like the recently introduced Mental Health Hub
- A newly launched Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention website, making educational information and related University resources more readily accessible to all members of the McGill community
Skill and Experience Enhancement
- The development of undergraduate SKILLSETS to complement existing professional development offerings for graduate students
- Expanding international education opportunities to help students broaden their horizons
- A series of new and developing workshops for staff to help fine-tune their writing and communications with students and other McGillians
Innovation and E-Tools
- The new McGill Commitment website, providing prospective and entering students with a bigger picture perspective on the McGill experience
- A new and streamlined undergraduate Admissions website, resulting in a better user experience
- Ask an Advisor, now with easily accessible live chats in myCourses, helping connect students to the academic advising resources that they need when they need them
- The continued expansion and implementation of the oneCard project, making many campus services available to students through a single resource
- An expanded McGill App, soon to feature Minerva integration and a real-time Inter-Campus Bus Tracker
- Ongoing renovations to learning spaces, supporting the increasing development and application of Active Learning practices. These include recent redesigns of and IT improvements in several classrooms and teaching labs across campus.
Through these and all other initiatives, SLL staff works to help you succeed. Of course, like all higher learning institutions, we face financial, pedagogical and social challenges. We have many questions to address, including but not limited to:
- How can we respond, and do so evermore efficiently, to the increased demand for student services?
- How can we foster continued and fruitful collaboration with student groups, including SSMU, PGSS, MCSS and MCGSS?
- How can we help students better tap into our vast network of more than 225,000 alumni across the world?
- How can we continue to make the safety of our campuses a top priority?
- How can we nurture mutually respectful relationships with our campus neighbours, including the Milton Park Community?
- How can we best equip students and staff with the competencies needed to excel in an increasingly complex world?
- Finally, how can we foster a learning environment that supports our students’ wellness while challenging them to do their best work?
We are committed to meeting these and other questions head-on. After all, it is challenges like these that nurture creativity and innovation. They can also help foster collaboration.
We need and welcome your input, comments, criticisms and questions. Feel free to get in touch with me to share your ideas for how to make your McGill experience the best one possible. This is our University, one of the best in the world, with some of the brightest faculty, students and staff. Together, we will continue to succeed.
Wishing you a warm winter term,
Olivier Dyens, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning)