Editor’s note: The following message was emailed to all students, faculty and staff on June 2, 2020
The Cesar E. Chavez Monument: Arch of Dignity, Equality and Justice on the grounds of San Jose State. Photo: David Schmitz.
Dear campus community,
We are living in a time when our values for community, social justice and denouncement of racist police brutality is foremost in our minds. Yet, I must write to you to remind you of another urgent matter that continues to impact members of our campus community.
President Papazian shared a message on May 8, 2020, regarding the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court decision on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—a decision that could negatively impact DACA recipients’ ability to live, study and work in the United States. San José State’s commitment to rights for undocumented students, including those with DACA, AB540 or non-DACA, non-AB540 students, faculty and staff remains unwavering, and we will continue to support them to the fullest degree possible, irrespective of the ruling. The ruling that will come out sometime this month will have an immediate impact whether it is to preserve, limit or eliminate the DACA program. Students, staff and their families who are directly affected have been experiencing incredible stress and fear waiting for this ruling to be released.
Our mission to provide an equitable, inclusive and caring environment and to help students complete their education is especially critical now with the potential earth-shattering change to the immigration status of a significant number of students and some of our staff. Members of our campus community must be informed and able to refer individuals to various resources.
There are some things to remember that may provide assistance to you as you support our affected students, faculty and staff.
The best source of current information about AB540 eligibility and the implications of one’s immigration status is our own UndocuSpartan Student Resource Center. It serves as a point of contact for individuals who are seeking guidance and resources. The Center remains fully staffed remotely Monday through Friday during regular business hours and reachable via email during and outside of business hours.
You can also become familiar with and reference reliable sources of information about services, resources, and rights for undocumented students regardless of DACA or AB540 eligibility.
Understand that we operate within the California State University system. The Chancellor’s Office posted information and answers to frequently asked questions about DACA and undocumented status on these websites.
Finally, as you work with students, please respect their rights to privacy in terms of their immigration status, health status and other identities. Resist making assumptions about the immigration status of students, staff and faculty based on appearance. But do offer information and help to connect those students, staff or faculty who indicate they are experiencing distress, housing, food, or economic insecurity, or the inability to complete their studies or work because of the impact of a potential ruling terminating the DACA program. And remember that even those who are not DACA recipients themselves may experience anxiety because they may come from a mixed immigration status household or may themselves feel a magnification of distress about their own undocumented status. Support services are available through the following two groups.
After the Supreme Court issues its decision, SJSU will hold a virtual town hall on the Wednesday following the decision, and Immigrant Legal Defense, (ILD) will hold a webinar the day after the decision is issued to answer questions.
In the current context of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has changed the mode and nature of our daily interactions drastically, we ask members of our campus community to remain steadfast in their support and professionalism to educate and work with all members of our campus community. Please share the resources in this message with others so everyone can experience an equitable, inclusive and caring environment at San José State.
I am conscious of the fact so many members of our community are experiencing so much pain, anger and fear. We have been living with the COVID-19 pandemic, which has separated us physically and drastically altered lives. We are angered by systemic racist police brutality. In the midst of this, the ongoing fear of losing DACA has been ever-present and its existence is now coming to an important inflection point. This is an unprecedented time in our nation. Please know that our administration and campus leaders are here to support you and are committed to inclusion, equity, fairness, acceptance and respect for all members of the SJSU community.
Kathleen Wong(Lau), PhD
Chief Diversity Officer, Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion