Universities band together in support of continuing DACA

09/13/2017 09:47 AM

In the wake of President Donald Trump’s recent order to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, more universities and colleges have endorsed a letter originally crafted in November 2016 by a college in California.

The statement from Pamona College originated after the 2016 presidential election amid widespread discussion that the DACA program would be eliminated. Then, last week, the college distributed a new call to action to colleagues across the country.

The message read:

“…Ending DACA means that these young people – Americans in all but legal status – will be vulnerable to deportation. They will lose their ability to contribute fully to our campuses, to our communities and to our country. Their loss, and that of other undocumented young people, is fundamentally our country’s loss…”

The almost 700 schools nationwide that have signed the statement include six universities and colleges in Kentucky. The schools include the University of Louisville, Western Kentucky University, Bellarmine University, Transylvania University, Berea College and Lindsey Wilson College.

Although the University of Kentucky, Eastern Kentucky University and Northern Kentucky University were not among those listed, UK and EKU say they support the continuation of DACA. NKU has not yet responded with a statement to Pure Politics at the time this article was posted.

Read responses from Kentucky schools below:

In a letter to the University of Louisville community
Dr. Greg Postel, Interim President

…The University of Louisville is deeply concerned about the Trump administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Absent Congressional action during the next six months, this decision could harm many members of our university community, their families and their loved ones.
We want you to know that we cherish every member of our campus community, and we will explore ways to ensure that a UofL education is accessible to all…

Statement from Western Kentucky University

Western Kentucky University is an institution of opportunity and access. We are committed to our mission of helping all students create a better life for themselves and for those around them through education.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, Executive Order has provided undocumented students temporary protection from deportation since 2012, giving the “Dreamers,” as they have been termed, the opportunity to pursue a college education. Today the Trump administration announced it is suspending the DACA program in six months and will leave the issue to Congress to address legislatively.

WKU officials will comply with all federal and state regulations, including the privacy protections afforded by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to protect affected students. In addition, we will work proactively with members of our Congressional delegation as they work to resolve this important issue.

Our priority continues to be supporting our students regardless of nationality, religion, ethnicity, and other aspects of our diverse community.

Statement from Bellarmine University

Consistent with the mission and the founding of Bellarmine University, we are called to advocate for the education and welfare of those who cannot speak for themselves. We urge our civic leaders and our community to stand up for the “Dreamers” and to enable them to become citizens and contributing members of our communities. We stand behind Pope Francis, Archbishop Kurtz and so many other leaders who advocate for this support as well. We cannot ignore our responsibility to voice our collective concern that we move forward with our commitment to these young people.

The statement I signed calls on the United States to uphold and continue DACA. It reports on the positive impact the program has had on DACA students – and the positive impact these students have had on our campuses, our communities and our economies, as exemplary students and citizens in the full range of disciplines and professions. The statement asserts the “moral imperative” and “national necessity” of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

In a letter to the Transylvania University community
Dr. Seamus Carey, President

…The anticipation of the new academic year is fueled by hope: hope for new accomplishments, new friends, new ideas. Yet, this year our hope is muted with no small degree of unease. In these turbulent political times, we at Transylvania will redouble our commitment to welcoming and supporting every member of our community, especially those who have found themselves thrown into a sea of uncertainty by the recent announcement relating to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

We cannot predict what will transpire over the next six months, but we will honor our commitment to educate, support, and counsel every Transylvania student to the very best of our ability. I ask that we deepen our commitment to each other, strengthen our bonds of community, and show deep and abiding respect for our fellow human beings in a world where basic respect seems to be challenged every day….

In a letter to the Berea College community
Lyle Roelofs, President

“…The termination of DACA without replacement would be a matter of very serious concern for all of us at Berea College for several reasons. First, we have a number of DACA students whom we love and appreciate very much as integral members of our community. Secondly, a Berea education had become possible for these capable young students through the creation of the DACA program. Furthermore, these young people not only have tremendous potential, but they have already demonstrated achievement at Berea College in the classroom, in their labor assignments and in leadership and other aspects of campus life. Finally, our founding motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” makes it our mission to offer these young people, who themselves did not make the choice to come to this country, the opportunity to be educated and to contribute to our society…”

In a letter to the University of Kentucky community
Eli Capilouto, President

“…I was in Washington last December and had the opportunity to meet with several members of Kentucky’s congressional delegation and the staffs of each congressional office. I made clear that the people on our campus who benefit from DACA are valued, contributing members of our UK family. They belong here; and all they ask is that we judge them on their talent, work ethic, and capacity to achieve academic success. They should have that opportunity to do so and earn their way forward.

My experience with our students is that they are essential to the current strength of our University and to the future economic well-being of Kentucky. They are earning the degrees that employers want and our communities need.

We will work diligently with our congressional delegation and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and our colleague institutions across the country to encourage members of Congress to enact legislation that protects the members of the UK community that are impacted…”

Statement from Eastern Kentucky University

EKU has always been an institution that embraces and fosters individual opportunity for all of our students, and we will not waver from that commitment. We will do everything in our power to continue to support all EKU students in pursuit of higher education and a better life for themselves and their families. It is our hope that Congress takes quick, decisive and bipartisan action on the DACA program to provide a long-term solution for students seeking a college degree. EKU will work to educate our congressional representatives on the impact DACA action will have on our students. The University will remain focused on student success and the path to educational attainment, regardless of where that journey started for our diverse student population.


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