By now you may have heard of the Trump Administration’s decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and give Congress six months to preserve or alter the program through legislation.
The university’s vision and values statement includes a goal that Shenandoah University be highly valued for “a campus culture of compassion, responsibility, advocacy and justice which graduates are inspired to replicate in communities beyond Shenandoah.”
Here at SU, we actively live that values statement. Most recently, over the past week, we have seen that compassion and responsibility in action in the many ways that members of the SU family have reached out to offer support to our students and employees whose families were in the path of Hurricane Harvey, and this week to others in the projected pathway of Hurricane Irma.
Now, with the DACA announcement, this is a time for Shenandoah to demonstrate its commitment to advocacy and justice. SU is a family into which you are welcomed the first time you set foot on campus. We have and will always be committed to providing a safe and secure environment for all of our students and university community members, regardless of their status, including their immigration status.
Within our university community, we have individuals on each side of the political aisle and everywhere in between. I encourage those who have a strong opinion about DACA to advocate for what you believe. Let your opinion be heard by contacting your US Representative and Senators.
In the midst of political controversy, one thing is incontrovertible: the Shenandoah University community is strong because of our diversity in backgrounds, political opinions, religious beliefs, nationalities, ethnicities… the list goes on and on. We pride ourselves on respecting and celebrating diverse cultures, experiences and perspectives. This diversity of community inspires me. It enriches all of us and the education we are able to offer. Yes, our DACA students benefit from being at SU; but Shenandoah is also a richer place of learning because of the presence of DACA students.
Earlier this year the university created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document related to immigration, which includes a section about DACA. This information has been updated to reflect the recent developments, and can be found in the “Directory of Shenandoah Resources” organization in Canvas. It is posted as a link titled “Immigration Q and A.” I encourage anyone who has a question or concern – now or in the future – to reach out to any of the individuals listed at the end of that document.
Be kind to one another… you never know if the person next to you in class is dealing with the pain of rebuilding from a flood or the fear of being deported. I am counting on our campus culture of compassion.
Tracy Fitzsimmons, Ph.D.
President of Shenandoah University
SU students, do you have questions about the rescinding of DACA? The Mosaic Center for Diversity, located in Brandt Student Center Room 120, is open from 9am to 8pm Monday through Friday.