Dear colleagues and Skyline College Community,
President Trump recently made clear his plan to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This means that Skyline College employees and students (often referred to as Dreamers) who currently have DACA status may be immediately affected. Skyline College stands ready to support and advocate for our campus community members who are affected by this change in policy.
DACA provides work authorization and temporary relief from deportation for nearly 800,000 young people who arrived to the United States as children. The program has significantly increased opportunities for higher education, jobs, and enabled individuals to contribute to their families and to their communities. Under the administration’s directive, the DACA program will be phased out over the next 6 months, and it will be up to congress to legislate a replacement.
These times of uncertainty can be unnerving but we must remember that the United States Constitution gives all immigrants certain rights regardless of their documentation status. The mission of Skyline College is to empower and transform a global community of learners. We can and do realize that mission when we stand up to protect our democratic society and ensure safe, equitable spaces for expression and learning.
One thing is certain: Dreamers can attend Skyline College to continue their education.
The current political discourse has created uncertainty for many simply because of their race, religion, gender, sexual identity/orientation, and documentation status. These challenges affect the way many students, faculty and staff experience their lives, move through the world, and undoubtedly, how they approach their jobs and their education. It is our role as an educational institution to seek to address and transcend these challenges.
I think it’s important to reiterate the specifics of the resolution that the SMCCCD Board of Trustees adopted in January 2017, directing the Chancellor to:
- Develop directives and procedures to protect the safety and security of all students and employees of the District, and to facilitate a greater sense of community and enhance the relationship with and between District public safety staff; and
- Protect student privacy and ensure confidentiality by prohibiting the release of information about a students’ immigration status to law enforcement and federal agencies unless legally compelled to do so; and
- Limit access to SMCCCD campuses and property to federal officials for the purposes of immigration enforcement, unless legally compelled to do so; and
- Provide opportunities for students and their families, employees and their families, and members of the community to know about and understand their legal rights and, when appropriate, provide referrals to legal services that provide such assistance; and
- Ensure that students and employees are aware of counseling and support services and ensure that those services are available and provided as needed; and
- Develop a process for evaluating student and employee feedback relating to this and other similar matters that aids the District in better promoting cultural sensitivity, understanding and promoting diversity, serving and protecting vulnerable, at-risk and marginalized populations, and providing trainings, forums, spaces and opportunities for understanding, communication and collaboration; and
- Take all necessary steps to engage the college and broader communities, media, elected officials, policy makers and other supporters to bring to light any injustices surrounding or relating to this matter, should any occur.
I want to assure you that Skyline College’s administration will continue to speak out against hate. We will continue to provide students with opportunities to broaden their perspectives, share their stories, and explore new ideas. We will continue to ensure that our entire community is welcomed, supported and safe.
There are resources are available that help us do that, and I encourage you to take advantage of them.
- DACA students are encouraged to visit the Skyline College Dream Center, located in Building 1, Room 1-219. There, students will find faculty and staff allies who provide direct services. Also, students can be assisted in connecting with off-campus resources.
- Psychological Services is also available to provide counseling or help students deal with trauma in Building 2, Rooms 2-206 and 2-237.
- Legal resources are available, and free consultations can be arranged through the Dream Center.
- A series of informational talks called “UndocuTalks” will provide a safe space to address concerns and fears around the issue, and “Know Your Rights” preparedness workshops will be open to the campus community during the coming semester.
The uncertainty around the permanent status of DACA is unsettling, but Skyline College remains steadfast in its commitment to students and the community. We move forward together because we know that together there are no limits to what we can achieve.
Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud