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A Message from the President: DACA Program


September 8, 2017

Dear Members of the Villanova Community:

This year, as we celebrate Villanova’s 175th anniversary, I have recounted the story of our founding on numerous occasions. Villanova University was established by the Order of St. Augustine to educate the children of Irish immigrants.  As an institution founded to serve this population, the recent decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is disheartening.

I, along with many college and university presidents, have stated our support and commitment to the DACA program over the past year. Villanova’s commitment to provide support for all students—regardless of their immigration status—remains unchanged. We remain steadfast in our support for Villanova students and families who are affected by the DACA decision.

We do not require students to divulge their immigration or citizenship status, so we do not have an exact number of those directly impacted by these developments. Therefore, I would urge our students who are directly affected by this announcement to speak with someone on campus who can provide information and support. The Villanova Law School Clinic for Asylum, Refugee, and Emigrant Services will continue to serve as a resource for those impacted by the rescission of DACA. In addition, both the Villanova Counseling Center and the Center for Access Success and Achievement offer personal advising sessions and sessions with a trained, licensed psychologist who can assist students.

The University will not provide information concerning our students to federal immigration authorities, unless it is in response to a judicial warrant or other legal requirement. Any subpoenas and warrants regarding undocumented students would be handled by the Office of General Counsel, which will comply with all regular legal requirements. Additionally, our department of Public Safety does not carry out immigration-related duties and does not ask about immigration status when they come in contact with students. Villanova faculty and staff should not generally inquire into the immigration status of students, unless required to do so as part of their job duties.

Our University mission calls us to “welcome and respect members of all faiths who seek to nurture a concern for the common good and who share an enthusiasm for the challenge of responsible and productive citizenship in order to build a just and peaceful world.” In uncertain times such as this, the manner in which we respond to these recent decisions is a direct reflection of our commitment to that mission. As a Catholic Augustinian University, we must continue to protect the most vulnerable among us.

Villanova is home to more than 10,000 students from many backgrounds and nationalities and they are all essential to the vitality of our community. There is no doubt that over the past 175 years, Villanova University has benefitted tremendously from the contributions made to our community and nation by immigrants. We will continue to do all that we can to support all of our members.




Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA