The UO uses the term Dreamers to refer to students who are undocumented, participate in DACA, receive tuition equity or are from families with mixed immigration status. DACA refers to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an immigration policy that allows two-year stays for some undocumented immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday and who have attended school or joined the military.
At the four-hour training, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to explore the challenges facing UO students whose immigrant legal status is precarious or unresolved or who have family members in that situation.
In addition to interactive exercises and discussion, information will be provided on basic laws and policies affecting these students, appropriate referral resources and what to do should immigration officers come to campus. Participants will also receive guidance on how to effectively support Dreamers and will be asked to identify one or more positive changes that they and their unit can make to support Dreamers on campus.
Since 2013, Oregon has allowed undocumented immigrant students with established Oregon roots to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities. The number of those students at the UO is growing, as are the challenges they face in the current political climate.
Ensuring their safety and success is a core part of the UO academic mission. In President Michael Schill’s September statement on DACA and support of students, he emphasized that “regardless of what happens in our nation’s capital, I want to again make very clear that the University of Oregon supports every student, regardless of immigration status.”
After completing the training session, participants will be given the opportunity to sign a pledge stating that they will provide needed discretion and support for Dreamers. They will receive a decal and pin designating them official “Dreamer Allies” to display by their desk or office.
The training was developed by Julie Weise, associate professor of history, with support from the Division of Equity and Inclusion and the UO Dreamers committee. Weise was able to pursue the project with a fellowship from the Center on Diversity and Community, a unit of the Division of Equity and Inclusion; she is the center’s 2017–18 faculty member in residence.
“The members of the Dreamer’s Working Group have been wanting to do this for a long time,” Weise said. “Compared to campuses in California or Florida, or even our neighbors at Oregon State University, our work to support Dreamers is in its infancy. But the level of enthusiasm from our fellow faculty and staff has been incredible.”
Registration for the Nov. 17 training is required. Two more training sessions are already being planned for later this academic year. UO Dreamers committee information and resources are available on its blog. Information and resources on undocumented, immigrant and DACA students can also be found on the Division of Equity and Inclusion website.
—By tova stabin, University Communications