An Open Letter to the Adelphi University Community
On Monday, December 5, 2016, a small group of faculty members met with University President Christine Riordan, Interim Provost Sam Grogg, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Perry Greene, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Esther Goodcuff, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs Jeffrey Kessler and Associate Vice President for Public Safety Gene Palma.
The purpose of our meeting centered on a mutual concern: supporting our Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students at Adelphi. For more than an hour, we discussed growing student and faculty concern over the uncertainties DACA students, undocumented students not registered through DACA and students with undocumented parents might face postelection. We focused on challenges, within and outside of our control—such as what the elimination of DACA could mean for Adelphi, but especially for our students. Issues raised included the potential impacts that a shift in immigration policy might have on student financial aid, housing instability and family. As a group, we attended to the everyday vulnerabilities—such as staying on track to graduate—that DACA students might encounter following a potential change in status or a detention order. We had the opportunity to weigh varying approaches to protecting the safety and ensuring the educational success of DACA students. In all cases, we agreed that upholding the legal protection of student information and privacy was of the utmost importance.
Together, we reviewed the use of the term “sanctuary” in campuswide statements. We acknowledged that such a declaration has neither uniform meaning nor recognition under current federal law. In addition, we had a productive exchange about the development of online and in-person resources that might serve to assist DACA students in the event of a change in immigration policy. We devoted time to review the good relationship that our University has with the Garden City Police Department. Undergirding all these topics was a shared understanding among all individuals present that there are legal constraints our University cannot ignore.
Throughout our discussion, the University reaffirmed its support for the DACA program and its students. Faculty learned about all the ways in which University leadership has reached out individually to seven declared DACA students in an effort to provide them with information, counsel and help in completing their studies despite barriers that may arise. This personalized approach and “relentless support for student success” define our University.
The University reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining a safe and welcoming campus for all enrolled students, visiting high school students, speakers and others who come to Adelphi for activities, regardless of immigration status.
As a result of our meeting, President Riordan and University leadership agreed to meet with members of the Latino Student Association (LSA) as well as concerned faculty, staff and alumni working with LSA. This meeting is scheduled to occur before the end of the semester.
We also agreed to form a representative University task force to provide guidance to the entire campus community on issues related to DACA. The task force will be formed and announced by the beginning of the Spring 2017 semester.
To communicate new developments, the link below contains the most recent University statements and actions regarding DACA. For those interested in staying informed, please contact Perry Greene, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, at email@example.com and continue looking for updates on our website.
Sandra Castro, Adjunct Professor
Esther Goodcuff, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs
Perry Greene, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion
Sam L Grogg, Interim Provost and Executive Vice President
Jacqueline Johnson, Associate Professor
Jeffrey A. Kessler, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Student Affairs
Jacqueline Olvera, Assistant Professor
Eugene Palma, Associate Vice President for Public Safety and Campus Transportation
Christine M. Riordan, President