September 6, 2017
As a result of Tuesday’s announcement by President Trump that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will be rescinded, we understand there may be fear, confusion, and anxiety. GWC cares about our students. We support all students and are committed to your success. In his message to the District, Chancellor Weispfenning stated, “We support a strong message to the administration and Congress to maintain DACA and to support our students. By working together, we can and will continue to ensure that our Colleges are places for ALL students to pursue their dreams.”
Here at Golden West College, we have resources available to students, including Information Sessions provided by the Financial Aid Office. Please contact Jessica Bravo at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional information. If you need someone to talk to who cares, look for the UndocuAlly Butterflies on office doors and windows around campus. In these times of confusion and uncertainty, please remember that You Are Welcome Here.
In our effort to keep you informed of all your rights and resources, we are attaching the most recent letter released by State Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley on September 5, 2017. Our College will comply with his advice: “to reassure all students, regardless of immigration status, that they are welcome and valued on our 114 campuses.” You may find the information found in the links to be helpful.
LETTER FROM THE STATE CHANCELLOR
Today’s decision by President Trump to unwind Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is extremely disappointing to all of us. The move to end DACA is a heartless and senseless decision that goes against American ideals and basic moral decency. The announcement will no doubt stir even more fear and confusion among our undocumented students, and we as college leaders must act quickly and decisively to reassure all students, regardless of immigration status, that they are welcome and valued on our 114 campuses. I know many of you have activated rapid response counseling services for students affected by this decision, and I commend your proactive approach.
Earlier today, myself, University of California President Janet Napolitano, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White, Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities President Kristen Soares and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson sent a letter to California’s Congressional delegation imploring this Congress to permanently resolve this issue before more lives are disrupted. Many of you will recall that last November, we appealed to the president following his election to preserve DACA, pointing to the positive contributions of these students, some of whom have defended this country serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Today, I convened the Chancellor’s Office DACA Rapid Response Committee that I formed back in January to mobilize in the event of an imminent threat to our DACA students and to pursue strategies to defend DACA. The committee that met this afternoon is composed of members of the Board of Governors, key Chancellor’s Office staff, college presidents and leadership of the Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges.
Activation of this committee follows months of outreach activities and advocacy efforts by the Board of Governors, the Chancellor’s Office and committed partners from every corner of our community college family, as well as from other higher education segments, to lobby for the continuation of DACA and to support students threatened by uncertainty in today’s immigration policy climate. Key takeaways from today’s events include:
- The California Community Colleges remain open to ALL students who can benefit from a postsecondary education, and financial aid is available to non-resident students under the California Dream Act. Outreach to sustain this message will be on-going.
- Reaffirmation that the Chancellor’s Office and community colleges will not share student information for purposes of immigration enforcement with federal authorities unless compelled to do so by law.
- Acting General Counsel Jacob Knapp has prepared a legal analysis on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memo “unwinding” DACA. Two issues to highlight: for our existing DACA students: (1) DHS does not intend to terminate an individual’s DACA status prior to its stated expiration; and (2) An individual whose DACA status is set to expire between now and March 5, 2018 may still apply for a renewal of their DACA status – but the application for renewal must be accepted by the Department by October 5, 2017.
- The Chancellor’s Office is working to identify funding sources that our colleges can use to provide counseling and other support services, including legal services, to students affected by today’s decision.
- A California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office delegation, headed by me, will travel Oct. 2 to Washington D.C. to lobby Congress for an immediate and permanent legislative solution that addresses the needs of our students.
- The Chancellor’s Office is working with other higher education segments and state legislators to address issues that could affect students’ ability to participate in federal work study programs.
Although we are discouraged by today’s news, we remain committed to serving and supporting all students, regardless of immigration status, and seeing that they reach their full potential. We will stand with our students, and we will not give into fear.
Eloy Ortiz Oakley
Chancellor, California Community Colleges