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Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Dominican tradition of higher education is rooted in its service to immigrant students and their families. In December, Dominican University’s Board of Trustees affirmed the value of that tradition for a new and highly vulnerable generation of immigrant students. It passed a resolution designating Dominican as a “sanctuary campus.”

The resolution commits the institution to continue to provide academic and financial support to students regardless of national origin, race, religion, sexual identity or immigration status. It states that “the university will not provide access to student information, including any records that identify immigration status, except as required by federal, state or local laws, and only in the presence of formal documentation.”

The full text of the Board’s resolution is available here.

The foundational elements of the resolution were recommended by the University Committee on Climate, Equity and Inclusion, in conversation with the Dominican Immigrant Student Collective (DISC). The resolution was endorsed by the President’s Diversity Advisory Council, and was approved by the trustees at their December meeting.

The move comes at an unsettled moment for national immigration policy. The new administration is considering the elimination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an immigration policy established in 2012 that allows undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive renewable periods of deferred action from deportation.

For more than a decade, Dominican’s administration and faculty have taken a leadership role around immigration reform and the rights of undocumented students. A committee of faculty and staff currently is working on grassroots strategies to implement the Board’s resolution.