In the current political climate, many of the nation’s students, faculty and college and university leaders have expressed concern about the future of undocumented individuals and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that permits young undocumented immigrants to remain and work in the United States for two years at a time without fear of deportation. Although I am heartened by recent bipartisan efforts from U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Dick Durbin to collaborate on possible legislation to protect the DACA program, and President-elect Donald Trump’s signal yesterday of an intent to “work something out,” in an interview with Time Magazine, the nation awaits further details.
Yesterday, I joined 528 other college and university presidents and signed a Statement in Support of the DACA program and our Undocumented Immigrant Students. I encourage you to learn more about this effort. In summary, it means we value the contributions of our undocumented students and that we call upon the federal government to uphold, continue and expand the DACA program.
While existing policies and procedures at CSN protect the privacy and safety of our students, faculty and staff, there are students who have real concerns about their future to complete their studies in a secure, inclusive and supportive environment. Therefore, I have designated members of executive leadership to a special task force to review CSN’s policies and procedures, paying special attention to their abilities to support any and all under-represented groups in this current climate, as well as academic freedom, and ensure all students can learn in an inclusive and safe environment at this college.
I am also scheduling student and employee roundtables at the start of the spring semester to exchange information, concerns, questions and suggestions on this topic, which will help inform the task force’s work.
Meanwhile, it is important to note that the college does not collect information related to a student’s status in the country (other than through our International Center for our international students here on visas and for financial aid students who must provide a social security number as part of their application for federal grants or loans).
Finally I would like to re-emphasize that intolerance and incivility have no place at CSN in our learning and working environment. I call upon faculty and staff, whenever you witness uncivil behavior, to correct it or report it to appropriate authorities. Additionally, CSN reaffirms the college’s values and continues its commitment to fostering a safe, welcoming and inclusive institution that celebrates cultures and values diverse opinions and perspectives. CSN continues to support our diverse community through various initiatives including but not limited to:
- CSN resources in counseling, CAPS, and the multicultural center
- Providing information for DACA/Undocumented students and to faculty and staff to better serve undocumented students;
- Creating a resource guide for undocumented students;
- Implementing a DreamZone program which provides training and resources to faculty and staff;
- Launching Diversity 101 training sessions beginning in Spring 2017;
- Continuing weekly “Pop Talks” at our multicultural center where students can discuss any topic;
- Working with employee groups to disseminate information and invite students, faculty, and staff to contact appropriate offices given the situation;
- Organizing an information panel for community resources available to students, faculty and staff; and
- Collaborating with NSHE and other institutions to share information and create joint events, such as the Dec. 19 DACA Immigration Policy Going Forward event hosted by UNLV, which we recently distributed through CSN’s Upcoming Events email.