Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) unanimously passed a resolution Dec. 1 supporting the creation of a full-time position dedicated to addressing the needs of undocumented students at the DREAM Center.
According to Dr. Jane Lehr, women’s and gender studies department chair and member of the Undocumented Student Working Group, the proposed position would replace a full-time volunteer position working with undocumented students.
“We currently have an Americorps volunteer who’s in a full-time position at Cal Poly,” Lehr said. “She’s 100 percent focused on building capacities for undocumented students.”
However, the volunteer’s funding ends this July, leaving a space to be filled that could potentially involve up to about 60 hours of work per week that is currently spread across the Americorps volunteer and the 10 members of the Undocumented Student Working Group.
Additionally, whoever fills the proposed position would receive training only available to official Cal Poly staff members.
“Because [the volunteer’s] not an official staff member at Cal Poly, she doesn’t have the training that a student support services professional would typically have,” Lehr said.
The position would support the needs of undocumented students at Cal Poly as well as advise on changes in laws as they pertain to issues.
“The person in this position would also be heavily involved in monitoring current and possible changes to state and federal laws that may impact our students or may impact students’ families and then advising students as well as the university on what’s happening,” Lehr said.
ASI President Jana Colombini is optimistic that this resolution will go a long way in motivating Cal Poly to hire a full-time employee to fill this position.
“By passing this resolution, it shows the university that that position is a top priority for students,” Colombini said. “I think that this resolution speaks volumes to show how much the student body cares about undocumented students and the creation of the DREAM Center.”
The DREAM Center was announced to open in early 2017 by Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Humphrey in Building 81 with the objective of creating a safe space for undocumented students and increasing campus inclusivity. ASI’s newest resolution has solidified the student body’s support of the initiative.
“I hope that the undocumented students know that we – ASI and the student body – support them and will do what we can to make sure Cal Poly continues to be a safe space for them,” Colombini said.