Community Message on DACA

As most of you are aware, earlier this week President Trump moved to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program established by President Obama in 2012. The program was created to extend protections to approximately 800,000 young people who entered the country without documentation as minors, and to provide alternatives to immediate deportation for a group of youth who, by no fault of their own, face swift and extreme consequences. At its core, DACA is a just and humane approach to a complex and intractable issue, and is consistent not only with the founding spirit of the United States but also the mission and values of Harvard University and with those of the GSD.

In response to President Trump, Harvard University President Drew Faust circulated a note to the Harvard community to denounce these actions and to summarize the university’s efforts to mitigate their effects. In this time of uncertainty and anxiety about DACA’s future, I urge you to read President Faust’s response and be assured that Harvard stands against the current administration’s decision to rescind the program. At the GSD, the rich breadth of our pedagogy thrives on welcoming and cultivating a diversity of people and ideas. This is a core value that we will continue striving to uphold.

Friends, family, and colleagues among us who may be affected in the months ahead should make use of several resources at the University. Free legal and immigration support is available at the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC) at the Law School (download HIRC’s guidance for undocumented members of the Harvard community.) The University also has created a website—Undocumented at Harvard—that compiles resources available across campus. Students who have general questions or concerns should contact Laura Snowdon, Dean of Students; faculty should contact Pamela Baldwin, Assistant Dean of Faculty Affairs; and staff should contact Sara Wilkinson or Lauren Baccus, co-Directors of Human Resources. 

In addition to these resources, I encourage those who are interested to explore the many activities and dialogues that have been mobilized by students across the GSD and Harvard around this issue. While the University and the GSD are working hard to keep everyone informed and to find solutions for those who need them, engaging with the School’s community has its own unique and vital kind of support and reward.

Mohsen Mostafavi
Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design