Higher Education leaders from around the state are expressing their support for those with DACA status and their concerns over President Trump's decision to end the program. The presidents of the New York Six Liberal Arts Consortium, including Hobart and William Smith Colleges President Gregory Vincent, issued a statement as well as Cornell University’s President Martha Pollack. The complete texts of those statements are below.
Letter from the Presidents of the New York Six
We write to express our deep concern about President Trump’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). That program benefits some 800,000 young people for whom the United States is home, and who are valued and productive members of our society, as students, employees, community members, and taxpayers. As presidents of institutions that increasingly reflect the remarkable diversity of our country, we witness daily the tremendous benefit that the presence of immigrants brings to our communities. DACA beneficiaries have been outstanding students on our campuses; their presence has enriched the learning environment for all of our students. We fear that the end of DACA will make our campuses, our communities, and our country less successful and culturally robust. We hope you will support swift legislative action to codify the principles of DACA so that those who qualify for its protections may live in this country free from the fear of deportation, enabling them to continue to contribute to the economic and cultural well-being of our nation. We are proud to be part of upstate New York communities that have embraced immigrants and refugees from all corners of the globe for many decades. They are our students, our colleagues, our neighbors, and our friends. Supporting legislation to retain the protections of DACA “will ensure that America remains a beacon of liberty and the most hopeful society this world has ever known (George W. Bush).”
Stephen Ainlay, President Union College
Brian Casey, President Colgate University
William Fox, President St. Lawrence University
Philip Glotzbach, President Skidmore College
Gregory J. Vincent, President Hobart and William Smith Colleges
David Wippman, President Hamilton College
Statement from President Martha E. Pollack on White House Rescission of DACA Program
September 5, 2017
Dear Cornell Community, Earlier today, the Trump Administration announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is being rescinded. This policy reversal, the enforcement of which we believe will be delayed for six months, puts our DACA students’ futures in jeopardy and, as such, is extremely troubling. As I wrote in my letter to President Trump last week, Cornell since its founding has been committed to diversity and inclusion, and DACA students are an integral part of our community. They were brought to this country before they had a choice in the matter, have grown up here, and are succeeding here despite significant challenges and obstacles. I believe they deserve a chance to fulfill their dreams, and this action has the potential to extinguish those dreams. While the full implications of today’s announcement are not yet known, it appears that, absent congressional action, in six months DACA students will lose protections from deportation and permits to work in the United States. The order also severely restricts the movement of DACA students, who will no longer be able to re-enter the country should they leave. These are very real impacts. To each of our students who must now fear for their future, please know that Cornell stands with you. I write today with the following commitments to our DACA students:
- Cornell will continue to vigilantly protect the privacy of student information and records from any unauthorized disclosure in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
- While Cornell representatives, including the Cornell University Police Department, will comply with lawfully issued subpoenas and warrants, it is neither the university’s practice nor expectation to function as an agent of the federal government regarding enforcement of federal immigration laws.
- All currently enrolled undergraduate students who had DACA status will continue to be considered in the “domestic” financial aid pool (need-based, meeting full demonstrated need) for the remainder of their Cornell undergraduate program.
- Enrolled graduate students who had DACA status and receive funding through the university will continue to receive funding for the complete length of time offered in their admission letters (assuming satisfactory academic progress).
- If funded graduate students who had DACA status lose federal work authorization, fellowship funding (which does not require this authorization) will be provided to these students instead of an assistantship. I encourage graduate students with DACA status to contact Associate Dean Sara Hernandez ([email protected]) to begin making financial and other support arrangements.
- Cornell will develop and administer programs to support undocumented students who would have qualified for DACA and who meet certain criteria, particularly having resided in the U.S. for a significant amount of time.
- Cornell will provide dedicated staff to support undocumented students.
- Dean of Students Vijay Pendakur will reconvene the Cornell Committee to Support Undocumented Students, comprising faculty, staff, and students, to advise leadership on this issue going forward.
- We will make on-campus housing options available for students who are concerned about traveling abroad during school breaks or the summer; those interested should contact Kristen Loparco at [email protected] for more information.
Importantly, we will continue to actively and aggressively engage federal policymakers in an effort to either reverse today’s order or secure a legislative remedy. We are urging the White House and our elected officials in Washington to support legislative proposals including (but not limited to) bipartisan legislation – the Bar Removal of Individuals who Dream and Grow our Economy (BRIDGE) Act, a stopgap measure that would allow DACA students a three-year window of protection and halt them from being deported. Our commitment to Cornell University’s founding principles is unwavering. We support all our students in their quest to pursue their education and achieve their dreams.
Martha E. Pollack President