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DU's principles of protection and support

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Rebecca Chopp

Letter  •

Dear Friends,

The University of Denver stands strong in its commitment to protect and support all members of our community. Diversity and inclusion are core values of this institution, and we continue to expand our efforts to address the needs of students, faculty and staff in a variety of ways.

Our nation has benefited in significant ways from a system of higher education that is open to people of all backgrounds, that offers freedom to ask all questions and discuss all ideas, and that is dedicated to the belief that the public good prospers where these values are supported for all.

There is much confusion—and understandable, serious concern—about the rights and protections of undocumented students and Muslim students on campuses across the nation, including our own. Specifically, questions about our national policies and what changes in those policies might mean for higher education institutions, have prompted many of you to ask for clarification about how the University has and will continue to support and protect our students.

To address those concerns and clarify our policies, I want to make clear the following principles and practices:

  • DU does not and will not voluntarily share student information with immigration enforcement officials. We fully comply with all Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations.
  • DU will not voluntarily grant access to University property to immigration officials for enforcement, investigative or similar purposes. Any request by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) or U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for information or access should be forwarded immediately to the Office of the General Counsel and the Office of Campus Safety. If the University becomes aware of such efforts, we will notify and coordinate within our community in a timely manner as appropriate. We currently provide workplace law training for all managers, and we will expand this training to include these procedures.
  • DU Campus Safety never has and will not assist ICE, CBP, USCIS or Denver Police Department in efforts to identify and deport undocumented community members.
  • DU Campus Safety never has and will not ask or otherwise ascertain the immigration status or religious affiliation of our students.
  • DU will continue to admit students consistent with its nondiscrimination policy.
  • DU does not make housing decisions based on immigration status.
  • DU will continue with immigration attorneys and other community resources to provide support for undocumented community members.
  • DU will not cooperate voluntarily with any federal effort to create a registry of individuals based on protected characteristics such as religion, national origin, race or sexual orientations, unless legal consequences would force us to reconsider.
  • DU will continue to advocate for the continuation of the policies of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a position I have joined many other presidents and chancellors in supporting.
  • DU will continue to support ICE’s treatment of college and university campuses as "sensitive locations,"where enforcement actions are prohibited.
  • DU will look for ways to expand our support for all students, including undocumented and Muslim students.

The University of Denver will do everything within its power to respond to the evolving needs of our students, including those who are undocumented or are Muslim.

If you are confused and anxious about the current national situation, or if you are concerned about safety on our campus, please reach out to our many professional staff and faculty who are here to support you. (See the list of resources below.)

As chancellor, I will continue to join leaders in higher education to make sure our national and state policies support diversity, scholarship aid and research funding in higher education. DU can only be the exceptional academic community that we aspire to be if we are an intentional community composed of individuals from a diversity of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences. Such an intentional academic community must cultivate an environment in which individuals are free from intimidation and fear and in which they are supported to explore their passions, ideas and development as leaders.

Some have asked that we declare DU a “sanctuary campus.” Universities are defining the term “sanctuary campus” in many different ways, and we have found no clear or common definition for the term. What is clear, and most important, are the protections and supports DU and other universities provide their students. As a humanist and a theologian, I recognize the term “sanctuary” carries a particular spiritual and material practice that belong to religious institutions, and I want to respect those religious traditions that do offer sanctuary. So while our protection and supports exceed those of some of the higher education institutions who use this term, we will not use it. What I hope we unite in is the support and protection of our community members to teach, learn, research and thrive.


Rebecca Chopp

Resources available to members of our community:

Health & Counseling Center

Office of Equal Opportunity

Center for Multicultural Excellence

Office of Internationalization

Religious & Spiritual Life / University Chaplain