Dear Members of the Converse Community,
This last week has brought great concern about the executive order to restrict entry or return of individuals from certain countries to the United States. We share the concern and insecurities expressed by our greater higher education community and by many of you, and wish to assure you that Converse College stands united alongside our colleagues in urging the administration to take immediate action to revise or rescind this order.
Converse officially supported a joint letter issued earlier this week by many higher education associations in collaboration with the American Council of Education urging the administration to, “secure our nation from those who wish to harm us, while also welcoming those who seek to study, conduct research and scholarship, and contribute their knowledge and talents to our nation’s higher education institutions, economy, and overall security.”
We will preserve and protect our core mission of providing a liberal arts education that focuses on providing a global and historical context.
We are a community of scholars who pursue excellence and collaborate in the search for truth; therefore, we will preserve and protect our core mission of providing a liberal arts education that focuses on providing a global and historical context.
Our Model League of Arab States program comes to mind as one of our most valuable learning and leadership opportunities. Through this program, Converse has established connections with, and often travels to, countries in the Middle East. In past years, our faculty and students have broadened their cultural understanding through traveling to and hosting delegations from some of the countries banned by the executive order.
Our new Interfaith Studies program is rooted in developing the active understanding of different faith traditions and their cultures. Restricting access of those seeking refuge in our country is in direct conflict with the spirit of this program.
As we focus on learning outcomes for every student with the launch of our new Quality Enhancement Plan, “Converse Across Boundaries: Learning Through Diverse Experiences,” the timeliness of this theme is striking. The plan focuses on fostering the skills to engage with and
converse about diverse cultures, perspectives, and life experiences. In its opening statement, the plan captures our compelling call to arms:
Converse College was founded on an ideal of providing an environment of tolerance, pluralism, and informed social engagement: The “Founder’s Ideal, ” a statement of guiding purpose adopted by trustees in 1889, expresses a commitment to cultivating in students the ability to “act justly, “to participate in the well-being of their country, and to embracing differences “liberally and tolerantly.”
During this time of uncertainty, Converse reinforces our commitment to our Founder’s Ideal, to our mission, and to our core values – particularly those of integrity, diversity, respect and community. We must rely on these strengths as we support those who are impacted, directly or indirectly, by this executive order.
We stand today, as we have since 1889, a Christian institution, committed to welcoming all who contribute to our community of scholars and to the advancement of knowledge and innovation in our great country.
Krista L. Newkirk, President Jeffrey H. Barker, Provost