President Donna Carroll spoke about Dominican's longstanding support for undocumented students in a podcast for the Center for Migration Studies. The podcast was the fourth episode in CMS's series, "Accompanying Immigrants in the COVID-19 Era: How Catholic Ministries Are Transforming Successful Programs." The podcast included an interview Donna did in August with CMS Senior Director of International Migration Policy Kevin Appleby as well as remarks during CMS' Catholic Immigrant Integration Initiative Conference in October, where Donna served as a panelist for a session on "Reflections on the Role of Catholic Colleges and Universities in Integration."

In the podcast, Donna explained that Dominican University traces its roots back to its service with the children of Irish lead miners in the upper Midwest and then, once the university moved to River Forest, with children of Polish and Italian immigrants. As the demographic of Chicago has changed, the university's multicultural identity has aligned with Latinx families. 

"We are proud of our strong social mobility index and the high graduation rates for first-generation-to-college, students of lower-income, often students of color, and a variety of immigrant backgrounds," she said.

She described the university's recently passed Campus Sanctuary Covenant as a document that reflects a greater understanding of the systemic issues around marginalized student groups than what was embraced in the original Sanctuary Campus Resolution in 2016. 

"It's a stronger anti-racism statement in general. There is a greater critical consciousness in this document and a stronger commitment to collective action. It aligns with our strategic plan, which is titled 'A World of Difference,' and it has much more specificity on how we address recruitment policy, faculty training and development in what continues to be a very challenging time, not only for undocumented students but for students and families across many identities and issues," she said.

Donna discussed how opportunities for first-generation college students and students of color are often narrowed by history and experience. 

"And one of the things that Dominican tries to do--imperfectly and always striving--is to create a sense of belonging and to let our students know that they are assets not only for the institution but, once they graduate, for this changing, interdependent, global world. They are not charity to the institution. In fact, the reverse is true. Their contribution, their determination, their sense of purpose, their commitment to family and community are characteristics that strengthen the Dominican community at large and enrich our experience."

You can listen to the Center for Migration Studies podcast or read the transcript here. 

Photo: Dominican students with Don Graham (far right), founder of TheDream.US, the nation's largest college access scholarship program for DREAMers. The photo was taken in January 2019 when Graham visited campus.