Statement from KPU President Dr. Alan Davis on the U.S. travel ban and the tragedy in Quebec
I write to you today to assure you that Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) proudly and unabashedly embraces diversity, and remains steadfastly committed to the values of inclusion and belonging.
For this reason, I am deeply disturbed by events of the last few days. On Sunday, six people were killed and many more were injured during an attack on Muslim worshipers at a Quebec mosque. On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order restricting travel to the United States for 90 days on individuals from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
KPU stands with Universities Canada in expressing our opposition to the executive action taken by the Trump government.
We live in an age of globalization, in which opportunities abound to seek new connections far beyond our immediate circles of friends, family, and personal and professional interests. Indeed, our connectedness transcends racial, ethnic, linguistic and geographical differences in ways that promote unity rather than isolation. Our sameness far exceeds our differences; we are all people.
It was only three months ago that KPU was proud to join with SFU and the City of Surrey to become Canada's first international City of Refuge, and to work together to offer temporary sanctuary—respite from danger and fear—to writers and artists who are persecuted in their home countries for their creative work.
Thus the events of the last few days, which run contradictory to our very core values as an academic institution, have many in the KPU community, and beyond, justly concerned.
Among KPU's international student population are students from countries affected by the travel ban, and we are currently reaching out to those students directly. Students from other countries who come to KPU to study enrich the university's global learning environment by furthering cross-cultural engagement. To these students, I offer the university's abiding encouragement and support, and a pledge that we will do our utmost to ensure their academic experiences are minimally impacted by the order. Further, we remain committed to supporting the international academic pursuits of all our students and faculty members, and that includes maintaining our relationships with universities around the world.
Our Deans' offices and the Kwantlen Faculty Association will work together to support faculty impacted by the executive order restricting travel into the U.S.
In terms of any pending or current education leaves, professional development or scholarly activities, KPU strongly advises those who might be subject to these travel restrictions to carefully consider whether their travel plans should be amended in light of the current situation.
Further, we understand that these restrictions may impact the ability of scholars to freely travel across borders. In some instances, some of those scholars may have been scheduled to speak at KPU. We will review on a case-by-case basis any instances where these travel restrictions will impact plans to have visiting scholars speak at KPU and what might be done to still ensure their voices are heard.
We also have support available for the university community as a whole. KPU's Multifaith Centre welcomes students, staff, and faculty to its spaces at KPU Surrey and KPU Richmond throughout the week to talk, share, express themselves, or simply seek quiet comfort. The centre is open during the following hours:
KPU Richmond Office
- Tuesday 12:00 PM-4:00 PM
- Wednesday 9:00 AM-1:00 PM
- Thursday 12:00-5:00 PM
KPU Surrey Office
- Monday 9:00 AM-12:00 PM
- Wednesday 12:00 PM-1:00 PM
- Thursday 1:00-4:00 PM
In addition, from Feb. 7 to 9, KPU's Multi-Faith Centre will host its 3rd annual World Interfaith Harmony Week Festival at KPU Surrey and KPU Richmond. This event is in concert with the United Nations World Interfaith and Harmony Week, which is aimed at addressing a worldwide rise in religious hostility. More information about the event is available here.
Any KPU student looking for support at this time is invited to contact firstname.lastname@example.org, who will direct you to the appropriate resources.
Employees who would like additional support are encouraged to contact Caroline Barnhart at Caroline.Barnhart@kpu.ca.
Alan Davis, PhD
President and Vice Chancellor