We have recently gotten a number of questions from members of our community regarding the potential for changes in enforcement of federal immigration law and how that could impact some of our students.
I feel it’s critical that I share my views in this area, as well as some information about University practice and resources as they apply to students at Suffolk who are undocumented.
Last week, I added my name to the list of now more than 500 leaders of private and public colleges and universities who have signed a statement in support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that the Obama administration put in place in 2012. DACA allows undocumented immigrants who arrived in this country as minors to live, work, and study in the United States for renewable two year increments.
I added my name and Suffolk’s name because I believe it is important for us to make an unequivocal statement of support for undocumented students and particularly our own undocumented students who are an inextricable and valued part of our community. We believe we have many students on campus who came to this country as minors, the children of undocumented immigrants. They are now pursuing their dreams through higher education and should be allowed to do so without fear of deportation. Like all of our students, they add vitality and vibrancy to this University, and they go on to make important contributions to their communities and society.
As a matter of practice, the Suffolk University Police Department does not and will not ask our students about immigration status or share information about our students’ immigration status.
As a University, we want to be as supportive as possible of all of our students, including those who are undocumented. In the Law School, the Clinical Programs have begun discussions about how they might help provide resources, such as workshops and clinical support, to those students who may have questions or concerns. And I have asked Dean of Students Ann Coyne and Sheila Calkins, who is Suffolk’s Title IX director and oversees SUPD, to reach out to students with additional information and resources that may be helpful.
No Room for Hate
All of our students – whether they are citizens of this country, citizens of other countries or undocumented domestic residents, have a place in this University. We are a community made up of many races, gender identities, faiths, and orientations. We are a community made up of Republicans, Democrats, Green Party members, independents, and many other political persuasions. A community where students come from across the city, the region, the nation, and the globe.
Sadly, in the weeks since the 2016 presidential election, there has been an increase in hate crimes reported across the nation. I feel compelled to say that actions of hate, whether physical or verbal assaults, or other violations of the University’s Community Standards, are contrary to the principles that underpin Suffolk University and its community. On behalf of all of us, I want to state clearly and loudly that we condemn all such acts, no matter the target or their background, race, faith, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation or political party affiliation. Words and acts of hatred have no place here.
I am grateful to work each day in what is an incredibly inclusive and supportive Suffolk community. Making each person feel valued and included is at the core of who we are as a University, and I am very proud to be associated with a community that puts those values into action.
Marisa J. Kelly