Dean Alonso writes to GSAS students about executive order on immigration
January 30, 2017

Dean Carlos J. Alonso sent the letter below to all graduate students in the Arts and Sciences on Monday, January 30, 2017:

Dear Students,

Many of you are distressed, and understandably so, about the recent executive order banning entry to the United States from seven predominantly Muslim countries. I, too, am deeply concerned about this abrupt change in policy because of the human cost that it exacts, and because it undermines our ability to engage in research and teaching with talented scholars from across the world.

The Graduate School has been in constant touch with the offices at Columbia that manage relations with the federal government and monitor its policies, seeking to assess the ramifications of this order for our graduate students. The International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) has been working directly with each affected student. We will keep you apprised of any new developments, since the government itself appears to be revising the order as it implements it.

Non-immigrant visa holders and permanent residents from the countries implicated have been strongly advised by ISSO to avoid all international travel for the time being. According to our records, GSAS visa holders from these countries (there are ten such students) have already returned to the U.S. Nevertheless, if you know of a student from one of the affected countries who is abroad, please write immediately to David B. Austell, Associate Provost and Director of the ISSO, at For information on immigration-related issues, international students and scholars should contact ISSO at (212) 854-3587 or

I want to assure you that we are giving this matter our undivided attention, and that we will support to the fullest all students affected by this order. If you have any questions about how this order may affect you or those for whom you care, we recommend that you contact ISSO, and that you avail yourself of the resources below as needed. If you have concerns about how it may affect research travel or your academic progress in general, please contact the GSAS Office of the Dean at (212) 854-2861 or


Carlos J. Alonso, Dean


GSAS Office of Student Affairs
Phone: (212) 854-4932

The GSAS Office of Student Affairs supports student wellness in a number of ways, discussing student concerns and connecting students to resources and services available across the university.

GSAS Office of Academic Diversity
The GSAS Office of Academic Diversity fosters an inclusive, well-resourced, academically successful graduate student body. One-on-one meetings with Isabel Geathers, Assistant Dean for Academic Diversity, are available by appointment.

International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO)
Phone: (212) 854-3587
ISSO is the Columbia’s international community’s resource for immigration-related needs, providing advisory and documentation services and information on a host of issues.

Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS)
Phone: (212) 854-2878
CPS Services supports the psychological and emotional well-being of the campus community by providing counseling, consultation, and crisis intervention—all of which adhere to strict standards of confidentiality.