Dean Harbach Email to Students, Sept. 24, 2018

  • Tuesday, Sep 25, 2018

Madison, Wis. (September 25, 2018) – (The following is text of an email sent to all students from Dr. Heather Harbach, Dean of Students, Edgewood College, in the afternoon of Sept. 24, 2018.)

“Dear Students,
As you may be aware, the Madison community at large is being impacted by the presence of federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. I am reaching out to our Edgewood College community to offer concern, support, and information for students.

First, as shared in a message last September by President Flanagan, I would like to once again emphasize an important document crafted and supported by our sponsors, the Dominicans Sisters of Sinsinawa that speaks to the events of today and the needs of our world: 

  • The Sinsinawa Dominican Corporate Stance on Just Immigration Reform, drafted in 2013, supports a just and compassionate immigration reform that includes:


  • an immigration process that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants;

  • family-based immigration reform which assures the unity of families;


  • the restoration of due process protections for immigrants;

  • human rights protections for undocumented workers;

  • and policies which address the root causes of migration.

Second, I would like to assure all students that we take the privacy of your student records very seriously. This includes specific guidelines regarding how and when your information is released to “external parties.” Examples can include law enforcement officers or representatives from a governmental agency such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of State, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or the Central Intelligence Agency. 

A document was created in February 2017 to be shared with all faculty and staff that details what to do when “external parties” request information about students. These guidelines provide further detail in addition to those required by federal law. Some points I would like to emphasize:

  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, known as FERPA, provides clear rules for what type of information can be shared about a student. All faculty and staff with access to this information must undergo training regarding related FERPA rules and practices.
  • Any requests via mail, email, or phone are directed to the Registrar’s Office. These staff members are trained on all records-related requests. 

  • If an “external party” were to come onto campus, all staff and faculty are instructed to contact the Security Office immediately. Security will escort the party to their office, and contact the Registrar’s Office for further instruction. This will include research to see if their request is valid and able to respond to.

To be clear: your privacy and safety are important to us. If you have further questions about this document, please stop by the Registrar’s Office, or you can always stop by the Dean of Students Office where you can get any concerns addressed.

Finally, I want to acknowledge how the presence of ICE and incidents such as the arrests that happened this weekend impact our community, our students, and our families and friends. There are many resources and support systems available for students, and I want to highlight them again for you, which include a confidential service as well: 

  • The Wellness Center: Personal Counseling Services (confidential)
  • Dean of Students Office
  • Office of Student Inclusion and Involvement
  • Academic Deans Office
  • Dominican Life and Mission Office

Edgewood College has a good deal of resources, both internal and external, and information about staff and faculty who are trained as Community Navigators that can assist students with immigration issues, available online.

In addition, the Madison Metropolitan School District has resources and community connections available online.

For those Dreamers here on our campus, I specifically offer the support of our Edgewood College community to you – you are not alone. There are many faculty, staff, and fellow students who are available to listen and work to connect you with services you may need, to ensure your educational experience is one you expect and deserve. We value your presence in our community.     

As always, we are here to support your success in all that you do as an Edgewood College student. Please join me in extending support and advocacy to any member of our community impacted by these recent actions.”