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NYU Will Protect Undocumented Immigrant Students, President Says

 The NYU Board of Trustees is considering divesting from fossil fuels.
The NYU Board of Trustees is considering divesting from fossil fuels.
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DNAinfo/Andrea Swalec

GREENWICH VILLAGE — New York University's president promised that the school will protect its undocumented and immigrant students, responding to concerns over President-Elect Donald Trump's incoming administration.

Several academic institutions have made such vows in the wake of Trump's election victory, as he campaigned on promises to repeal protective measures put in place by President Barack Obama for children brought to the U.S., such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy.

NYU's President Andrew Hamilton said in a letter this week that he has "heard from many expressing deep concern about the well-being of immigrant and especially undocumented members" of the school community.

The letter was first reported by POLITICO New York.

Hamilton sought to "assure everyone that the school's goal is to afford "full protection and support to everyone who lives, studies and works at NYU."

"We are bought together as a community," he wrote, "each member valued, each member belonging here, each member deserving of the support that NYU can give."

"Documented or undocumented, these are our peers, colleagues and friends," he added.

Hamilton outlined the ways in which NYU can protect such individuals, including not allowing federal agencies to enter NYU buildings or access school information without a search warrant or subpoena, providing financial aid to non-citizens independent of federal aid programs, and providing legal advice through the NYU Immigrant Rights Clinic.

Hamilton said the school at all times will not share immigration information with the federal government, only cooperating in instances when they are required to by a subpoena or warrant.

Student records are privacy-protected, and the school's anti-harassment and non-discrimination policies extend to undocumented immigrants, Hamilton said.

The school has a bias response hotline — for students, faculty and workers to report harassment or hate crimes — that also does not solicit information on immigration status, and any such information that is provided voluntarily would not be shared with anyone without a subpoena, Hamilton wrote.

The school is also collecting information on the NYU "climate," asking people to report on what it's like to live, work, learn and teach there. When information is submitted, it is automatically separated from the informant's IP address, so there will be no way to identify any of the people who respond to the survey.

He also noted that he signed a letter with other college presidents urging Trump's administration not to end DACA.

"We will continue to add NYU's voice to efforts to advocate for the best interests of the NYU community to the federal government as well as to our representatives," Hamilton wrote.

He promised to continue to provide updates to the community and urged students and faculty to come to him with concerns.

"The administration and Board [of Trustees] are acutely aware of the anxiety in our community," he wrote. "Dialogue is key... I look forward to hearing your thoughts."

Hamilton's full letter is available online.