College of the Atlantic has been championing academic innovation and holistic justice since its f...College of the Atlantic has been championing academic innovation and holistic justice since its founding in 1969. 

BAR HARBOR — The letter, which was also signed by the presidents of Maine colleges Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin, states that continuation and even expansion of the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is “a moral imperative and a national necessity.”

“Since the advent of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, we have seen the critical benefits of this program for our students, and the highly positive impacts on our institutions and communities,” the open letter states. “America needs talent – and these students, who have been raised and educated in the United States, are already part of our national community. They represent what is best about America, and as scholars and leaders they are essential to the future.”

College of the Atlantic President Darron Collins ’92.College of the Atlantic President Darron Collins ’92.The DACA program currently offers protections to over 700,000 immigrants who came to the U.S. without authorization as children. President Barack Obama established the program by executive action in 2012, granting work permits and deportation protection to certain children who arrived in the United States after 2007. Many of these children now attend American colleges and universities.

President-Elect Donald Trump has repeatedly stated his intentions to dismantle the program and institute tough deportation policies.

“We are committed to fostering a welcoming, diverse, inclusive environment at College of the Atlantic for all students, wherever they may be from,” President Collins said. “We do not, and never will, discriminate against any student based on their country of origin, and I urge the incoming administration to consider doing the same.”

The open letter was spearheaded by the president of Pomona College, in Claremont, California. Signatories are offering to meet with U.S. leaders to present their case, and are asking others to join them in support.

“We call on our colleagues and other leaders across the business, civic, religious, and non-profit sectors to join with us in this urgent matter,” the letter states. “As educational leaders, we are committed to upholding free inquiry and education in our colleges and universities, and to providing the opportunity for all our students to pursue their learning and life goals.”

Members of College of the Atlantic often have no trouble standing up for their beliefs.Members of College of the Atlantic often have no trouble standing up for their beliefs. Credit: Aubrielle Hvolboll ’20

College of the Atlantic was the first college in the U.S. to focus on the relationship between humans and the environment. In 2016, both The Princeton Review and the Sierra Club named College of the Atlantic the #1 Green College in the United States. The intentionally small school of 350 students and 35 faculty members offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in human ecology – the study of how humans interact with our natural, social and technological environments. Each student develops their own course of study in human ecology, collaborating and innovating across multiple disciplines.