The Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) Board of Directors voted Wednesday, Nov. 13 to pass a resolution that would provide support for undocumented students in the event that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is terminated by the Supreme Court.
The resolution ensures that in the event that DACA is rescinded, Cal Poly will continue to provide the financial support undocumented students receive under DACA. Cal Poly will “rapidly create a formal action plan to ensure affected students are able to continue their attendance at Cal Poly,” the resolution stated.
The resolution said administration will give updates on campus department changes regarding financial opportunities for undocumented students. The Academic Senate, in collaboration with the Dream Center, will also review and modify university policies that negatively impact undocumented students, according to the resolution.
The DACA program, initiated by former President Barack Obama in 2012, defers the deportation of people brought into the United States as children, known as “Dreamers,” to work legally in the country. In September 2017, the Trump administration announced plans to eliminate DACA and end the legal protections extended to Dreamers in the six months following DACA’s termination.
The decision was met with several lawsuits, criticizing the administration for terminating DACA unlawfully. As a result, DACA is currently at the forefront of arguments taking place in Supreme Court to determine if the Trump administration’s decision to repeal the program is lawful.
ASI Board of Directors Chair of Diversity and Inclusion Committee and journalism senior Dominique Morales co-authored the resolution with Vice Chair of the Board and Chair of Business and Finance Committee and aerospace engineering graduate student Alan Faz. Morales was the first to advocate for its approval from the ASI Board of Directors.
“We saw the need to make sure that there was action taking place on our campus, just in case the purview be that DACA does get terminated,” Morales said during the meeting. “Of course you don’t want that to happen, but you have to look towards the future.”
The resolution passed, but two ASI Board representatives chose not to vote. Board of Directors representative for College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) and dairy science sophomore Genevieve Regli explained to the ASI Board of Directors why she was not voting on the resolution.
“I’m struggling to see how an organization like ourselves can take a stance,” Regli said during the meeting. “I honestly don’t view this as our goal in taking a stance, seeing that President Armstrong has already done so … I just don’t think it looks good on ASI.”
Regli referred to university President Jefferey D. Armstrong’s campus-wide letter sent in September 2017 on the day former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the decision to end the DACA program.
“We at Cal Poly remain absolutely committed to our DACA students, faculty and staff who make our university a rich and vibrant community,” the letter read. “We will do everything in our power to urge Congress to offer a workable solution.”
Morales said she understands that Armstrong showed support of DACA students in the past, but she said she doesn’t believe that his statement provides any protection.
“The main criticism we get as a student government is that we are not properly making the right procedures to protect our students and advocating for anti-oppression,” Morales said. “I feel like this is a document that is going to look more favorable than unfavorable seeing where our campus is at this point in time.”
Supreme Court hearings took place Tuesday, Nov. 12. A decision is likely to be issued by early 2020.