RE: Support for Undocumented Students
Last week an emergency session of the UCB Standing Committee on Undocumented Students was convened. The committee is comprised of faculty, students, and staff and serves as a platform to discuss avenues of support for our undocumented community members. Immigrant students’ mental health and stress was of particular concern.
What should have been an exciting and stimulating second week of class turned otherwise for them when President Trump announced the end to DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Many of these students now fear for their safety and their future, as well as the status of their parents and extended family. The stress has been crushing. The Undocumented Student Program (USP) on campus reports a spike in the use of mental health counseling, a trend that began soon after the 2016 election. Students’ fears and worries have been exacerbated by the general campus climate, including the invitation of anti-immigration advocates like Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos to campus.
It has been a trying time for many students, so we write with a simple request – please take the emotional strain brought about by the current political moment into consideration. Our friends at the USP stress that “Faculty Flexibility” is more important now than ever. Extensions, and perhaps a more sympathetic ear will go a long way, especially for students that are now processing the uncertain fate of their status in the country. Many will have to travel home in the following days to support and create deportation contingency plans with their families – all the while handling heavy homework and reading assignments. Communicating this message of flexibility to GSI’s will also be important as the semester unfolds and students brace themselves for the oncoming political challenges.
Now for those of you interested in helping beyond the classroom, the campus standing committee sends the following links in case you would like to donate. At the moment, the USP is collecting resources to finance the renewal of DACA cases ($495 per student) and increase the office’s mental health services. USP is feverishly working to assist and process DACA recipients with their renewals before the looming October 5th deadline, while fighting back to defend their families and communities. Please consider contributing to their program below:
The Undocumented Student Program provides students at Berkeley with a range of critical support services that include immigration legal support, mental health counseling, and emergency grants.
The following are also programs that could use your support:
MAFS: A program designed to specifically provide research experience and writing opportunities to undocumented/AB540 students and are planning to attend graduate schools/professional schools. A gift will help with providing research opportunities, conference attendance, academic and professional development.
EF: Entre Familia was established to assist undocumented students who are struggling financially at Berkeley. The fund, started by individual donors to help one student at a time, is now supported by several donors and entire families. Priority is given to undocumented students who don’t qualify for any AB540 or DACA funds. A gift will help pay for campus tuition fees and other financial need gap for these students.
CSF: Casa Sin Fronteras (previously the Dream House) was established in 2010 by Chicanx Latinx undocumented students to help them find affordable housing and sharing food as collective house. The house works towards creating a community of support to help them complete their degrees and continue with graduate and professional school. A gift for Casa Sin Fronteras would assist with meeting housing costs, collective dinners and academic and programmatic support.
The Board of the Berkeley Faculty Association
Michael Burawoy (Chair)
Chris Rosen (Vice-Chair),
Leslie Salzinger (Secretary)
Lisa García Bedolla