To the Metropolitan State University community:
As many of you will have read or heard President Trump has taken steps to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program of 2012, or DACA. The announced timeline identifies March 5, 2018 as the point at which some 800,000 persons now covered by DACA provisions would become liable to deportation, if Congress has not by then acted to address their status.
The prospect of thousands of Minnesotans having their dreams overturned, suddenly facing uncertain futures that could entail the deportation of their family members or themselves from the only country they know to places they have never seen is heartbreaking. Some of these persons, without a doubt, are students at Metropolitan State and other Minnesota State universities and colleges. They are preparing, among other purposes, to be engaged, productive members of our society.
The dialogue around DACA will unfold over the upcoming weeks and months. While its direction and outcomes are not known now, we do know that the values that shaped DACA are aligned with the mission, vision, and values of this university. Metropolitan State will continue its unyielding commitment to making life-enhancing opportunities possible through extraordinary higher learning experiences. We will continue to welcome and support all who seek the challenge and rewards of learning in a diverse community. Our campuses and other locations will continue to be safe and inclusive centers of inquiry and excellence.
Even now, let us not forget that we have much for which we can be proud and thankful. For example, I am proud to share with you the statement issued by Minnesota State's Interim Chancellor Devinder Malhotra:
At Minnesota State, our core commitments include opening the doors of educational opportunity and ensuring access to an extraordinary education for all Minnesotans. The diversity of our campus communities is a key strength -- one that makes us who we are and allows our state colleges and universities to play the critical role they do.
As our nationwide dialog concerning Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) continues to unfold, we will continue to express our steadfast support for this policy and strongly urge our federal delegation to preserve its protections. Terminating or phasing out DACA would leave thousands of young people across the country, including perhaps some of our students, with uncertain futures. We are committed to working with our students, our faculty, our staff, and our representatives in Washington toward a long-term solution that supports DACA students and allows them to continue to contribute to our vibrant communities throughout Minnesota and to our economy. Our campuses will remain safe and welcoming places of inclusion, hope, and opportunity for all of our students, faculty, and staff.
Today I am also thankful that, regardless of this federal executive action, Minnesota's 2013 Dream Act, authored by alumna and former community faculty member Sen. Sandy Pappas, is still in force. Read a summary of its provisions at the Minnesota Office of Higher Education website.
As a civically-engaged campus community, I invite colleagues and students to reach out to those who represent us in Congress and to communicate how our own values intersect with this critical issue of public policy and civic culture.
Faculty and staff may wish to prepare for students' questions by viewing a document from the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, titled, "What do I need to know if DACA ends?"
We are also actively updating the Equal Opportunity and Diversity office's web page with immigration information and resources.
Staff in Student Affairs and Admissions are reaching out to our students who they know may have concerns to offer support and connect them to resources. Others are planning for events and gatherings to educate, comfort and support.
Meanwhile, in this third week of the semester, let us redouble our efforts to assure that the learning experiences and sense of welcome and inclusion that all of our students come here to find are the very best they can be.
I will continue to provide campus updates as this issue unfolds and as we identify resources and organize events to educate and support our campus community.
President Virginia "Ginny" Arthur, JD
Metropolitan State University