In Support of DACA students at Wake Forest University

The following message was sent to the WFU community on behalf of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion on September 3:

Dear Wake Forest Students, Faculty, and Staff,

The current political climate around the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is one of uncertainty and confusion, not only for Wake Forest students enrolled in the program, but also for their families, friends, classmates, faculty and staff. Given that climate, we cannot provide clarity about the program’s continuation or possible changes to federal policy. However, it is critically important for everyone in our campus community – and especially those worried about their safety and freedom to pursue their studies – to know that Wake Forest is here to support all our students, including those who are not U.S. citizens.

In December, President Hatch joined hundreds of other university leaders in signing a petition asking then-President-elect Trump to uphold and expand DACA. Yet, as a decision from the White House looms, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion – through our Intercultural Center, Women’s Center, and LGBTQ Center – acknowledges the anxiety and frustration associated with not knowing the impact of changes to current federal policies. Please consider our collective staff available should you need to an attentive ear or a comforting space. In addition, please remember that the University Counseling Center (117 Reynolda Hall) can provide expert and clinical confidential support, that the International Students and Scholars division (116 Reynolda) can provide up-to-date information and implications for changes to federal policies around immigration procedures and statutes, and that the Chaplain’s Office (8 Reynolda) can provide spaces that facilitate reflection and solace. Finally, consider your own personal support network of family, friends, and staff and professor allies, and how they can be affirming.

Wake Forest, like other institutions of higher education, will continue to monitor changes to DACA. We will also continue to assess progress or updates to Congressional actions, including the BRIDGE Act and the Recognizing America’s Children Act (a rewrite of the Dream Act). Ultimately, the academic and personal-social well-being of DACA students at Wake Forest is something we neither take lightly nor take for granted.

As President Hatch has said, we are a community that stands up for one another in the face of discrimination. We are a place committed to respecting and preserving the dignity of all people – from every nation. We are a campus that welcomes diverse people and viewpoints. Our campus is richer for our diverse population and we will continue to provide financial aid, support services, and connection to legal resources for undocumented students. You belong here and you are welcome here.

Sincerely,

José A. Villalba, Interim Chief Diversity Officer

Johnathan McElderry, Director, Intercultural Center

Angela Mazaris, Director, LGBTQ Center

Paige Meltzer, Director, The Women’s Center

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