In a letter to the campus community released yesterday, University of Arizona president Robert N. Shelton declares that the passage of SB 1070, Arizona’s new immigration enforcement law, raises “troubling questions about how SB 1070 will affect the University’s international community.”

“The health and safety of our international students, faculty and professional staff are priorities of the highest order for us,” Shelton says, “and … we intend to put in place whatever procedures are necessary to ensure their safety and free movement on campus and in our community.” He further pledges to “do everything possible to ensure that these students continue to feel welcomed and respected, despite the unmistakably negative message that this bill sends to many of them.”

Shelton says he has already received word that several out-of-state students — every one of them an honors student — will be transferring to other universities as a result of the bill’s passage. “This should,” he says, “sadden anyone who cares about attracting the best and brightest students to Arizona.”

The University of Arizona police department will, he says, “be receiving extensive training” on SB 1070, and will be instructed “that individuals may not be stopped solely on the basis of race, color or national origin.” But while he is, he says, “completely confident that no one need fear the way that UAPD will approach the application of this law, I nevertheless appreciate the anxiety that friends and colleagues are feeling. It is a concern and fear that no one should have to harbor.”

He closes the letter by saying that the state Board of Regents “will be discussing the implications of SB1070” at its meeting this week.