SUNY New Paltz Students, Faculty, and Staff:
As many of you are aware, President Trump’s administration has decided to end DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. This program has provided critical opportunity for hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people brought to the U.S. as children. They have pursued their educations here, contributed to the U.S. economy, and been involved in their communities in diverse ways. Many know only the U.S. as their home.
Like many of you, I am saddened and disappointed about the impact this decision will have on our undocumented students and their friends and families. In the wake of the repeal of DACA, we must remember our educational mission as a public university, and our shared commitment to diversity and the safety of all students, irrespective of national origin or path to arrival in the U.S.
Since last winter, I have joined other college and university presidents and higher education system leaders in advocating for the continuation of DACA. I will continue to advocate in ways appropriate for me as a public university president, as Congress considers legislative action on this issue.
I wrote to the campus community several times last winter about these issues and again share links to New York State and other resources that may be useful, although they may be updated in the coming weeks in response to the latest decision on DACA:
In addition, I have previously shared SUNY policies and practices, affirmed by the SUNY Board of Trustees in January 2017, that support undocumented students (full text available here
). These are consistent with New York State policies issued by the Attorney General (here
). These documents will continue to guide SUNY New Paltz actions to support students, faculty, and staff. In summary, these include:
- Continue the longstanding policy that University Police departments do not participate in enforcement of federal immigration law except under court order or other legal mandate;
- Express strong support for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals);
- Continue the longstanding practice of prohibiting discriminatory actions on the basis of protected class, including national origin;
- Continue the longstanding practice of defending privacy rights of students and requiring a subpoena, court order, search warrant or other exception to FERPA;
- Continue the longstanding practice of allowing undocumented individuals to pay resident tuition, provided criteria specified by State law are met;
- Continue the practice and policy of not considering national origin or immigration status in admissions decisions; and,
- Continue the longstanding practice of welcoming students of all religions.
We all must recognize the uncertainty, fear, and anger that members of our community are experiencing. As I have shared on other occasions, I have seen how such difficult times bring out the best in our New Paltz community. Let us offer support to each other now.
Donald P. Christian