Last winter, in the context of an immigration-limiting executive order by President
Trump, I wrote that Illinois Wesleyan University remains strongly committed to providing
a supportive environment in which each of our students can become confident, participatory
members of a global society. We define ourselves as a diverse, inclusive and welcoming
campus, with the understanding that education in the context of diversity – whether
of nationality, race, religion, thought or any of the other forms that diversity may
take – creates the richest learning environment. We respect and value our fellow students,
educators and staff across geographic and cultural boundaries, and stand with institutions
of higher learning throughout the country in insisting that it is critical that the
United States continues to welcome scholars of all backgrounds and nationalities.
I write today specifically to reassert these claims in light of the recent Deferred
Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) action by the Justice Department, and to reassure each of you that none of that
has changed. University policy protects against discrimination on the basis of age,
race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, or national origin, and student
records are subject to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protection.
Neither immigration nor citizenship status is released without a student’s permission,
unless there is proper legal authority such as a subpoena or court order.
On campus, we must, as always, support each other in a time of need. Students have
organized a gathering to raise awareness and show support of our DACA students over the noon hour on Sept. 7, in front of Joslin Atrium. Locally, formal legal information, counseling
and referral is available from The Immigration Project in Bloomington. At the national level, matters are in flux. There are threats by
state Attorneys General to sue to preserve DACA as it stands, but long-term resolution likely rests with Congress. While there have
been several pieces of legislation introduced, the 2017 DREAM Act (S.1615 & H.R. 3440) has bipartisan support in both
houses of Congress. I will write our Congressional delegation on behalf of IWU’s DREAMers,
as valued members of this community, in support of the DREAM Act or similar legislation.
Contact information for members of Congress can be found here.