Below is an SMSU faculty statement regarding their collective opinion and stance on the issue of Lyon Country refugee resettlement. The below letter was also published as a letter to the editor in the Marshall Independent and was read aloud by Professor Julie Walker at the refugee resettlement informative meeting for students and community members at SMSU last week on Monday, Jan. 27th.
For decades, Lyon County, Minnesota, has distinguished itself in accepting refugees from around the world. These are individuals and families who are escaping civil conflicts and outright persecution in their countries of origin and have found a welcoming home in Lyon County. They have thrived in our community: working, building businesses, and adding to the cultural richness of the region as well as to the public revenue—without refugees and other immigrants, Lyon County would have lost nearly ten percent of its population in the last twenty years.
As faculty members at Southwest Minnesota State University, we have had refugees, and their children, as among our hardest working and engaged students in our classes and have been honored by the large number of them who have gone on to positions of leadership on the campus and in the wider Lyon County community. Additionally, refugees and their children bring an international perspective for our more traditional students, enriching their educational experience on our campus as well. For these reasons, the Faculty Association at SMSU unreservedly supports the continued acceptance of refugees in Lyon County.