We should hold social media companies accountable for removing and preventing hate speech (essay)

Last weekend, I had the privilege of returning to my alma mater for the inauguration of Elizabeth H. Bradley, the 11th president of Vassar College. Returning to Vassar as the president of Transylvania University felt different from my arrival as a student in 1984.

I was raised in the Bronx by Irish Catholic immigrants. Our Catholicism was quiet, expressed mostly by giving neighbors a hand, weekly Mass and private guilt. We had little time to follow the political issues of the day, and the internet did not yet exist.

During my years at Vassar, however, there was no hiding from political issues. Well-informed, passionate students conversed about apartheid outside classes and staged demonstrations near the dining hall. Students engaged intensely with one another and professors. Courses forced us to seek out quiet spaces in the library where we struggled to master content that was opening us to new perspectives on the world.

At Transylvania, I regularly see students undergoing the same transformations. True to the liberal arts experience, our campus is a sacred space of learning, inquiry and student development. We are guided by the search for knowledge and truth. Students and faculty members work together in small classes combing carefully through texts, conducting research projects and conversing about life after college. These experiences bring a satisfaction that is distinct to college campuses. A quick glance at the accomplishments of Transylvania graduates indicates that our work is done well.

Recently, the sacredness of our campus was disrupted by a social media firestorm. This invasion came as a response to an online posting. One of our students who is part of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program had her personal information posted on a white supremacist Facebook page by another student. As a result of that, our DACA student received abusive messages online. The university immediately mobilized to protect and support our students, in particular the DACA student -- a young woman who has been in the country since she was 2 years old and has distinguished herself as a college student. At the same time, we initiated a judicial process that provided due process for everyone involved. While we followed this process, misinformation and impatience led to indignant messages filling our inboxes.

Our university has been chastened by this experience. We are reviewing our policies to make sure we are doing everything possible to minimize the fallout from such occurrences. We are well on the way to recovering the civil and collaborative learning environment that we are used to. But I am concerned about what it reveals about our country. Institutions like ours are governed by laws and procedures that protect individuals in our community, especially students. Privacy is sacrosanct. We do not reveal information about our students to the public.

In contrast, the digital empires of Facebook and Google are mining personal data and transforming it into a commodity. The commodification of this data enables those empires to amass immense influence and wealth while full access to data allows people to threaten, harass and abuse. Like any industrial empire, the measure of success for these digital empires is wealth and power. The difference between the digital industry and just about any other industry, however, is that there are virtually no regulations on how their commodity -- data -- is used.

Codes and regulations restrain the behavior of other industries to protect citizens and the world. The absence of codes and regulations in the digital world too often leads users of social media to act on their worst instincts. Rhetoric becomes unhinged from reality. That separation is a threat to our democracy and the institutions that are essential to it. On these platforms, facts go unchecked, nuance is lost and not searched for, emotion overrides reason, accusations replace dialogue, and premature judgment negates understanding. All this is fodder for media operatives who use the algorithms of Facebook and Google to manipulate data and control what we read and discuss.

In the aftermath of the social media firestorm that hit our campus, I received advice from a contingent of faculty. One recommendation read, “Approach violations with an eye toward stopping the behavior, preventing its recurrence and remedying the known impacts.” But as college administrators, our influence over the way people use social media is extremely limited.

The same is not true of Mark Zuckerberg, however. A new law taking effect this week in Germany, the Network Enforcement Law, will hold social media companies like Facebook accountable for removing and preventing hate speech. If they violate the law, they will be liable for fines up to $56 million. That has prompted Facebook to begin hiring thousands of screeners to review content that is being posted on their pages.

We should consider similar legislation in the United States. Given the pace at which the U.S. Congress works, however, Zuckerberg and his colleagues have an obligation to monitor content before legislation requires them to do so. It is not enough for Zuckerberg to say he is in the business of connecting people when communities like Transylvania can be torn apart by users of his platforms. Facebook has ample resources to put protective measures in place to remove hate speech and doesn’t need to wait.

In the meantime, it is more important than ever for institutions of higher learning to recommit to the ideals of liberal learning. We must provide the context that enables students to evaluate and resist derogatory language, even if it is given license by our president. We must provide the context for them to see through the illusion that all information or data is equal. We must provide the context to know the human condition with depth through the study of a broad curriculum of history and art, science and philosophy, economics and psychology, business and politics. This context is shaped by the search for truth and welcomes nuance. It expands dialogue and suspends judgment in the pursuit of understanding. It welcomes the differences of others.

Education is a fundamentally optimistic endeavor. At its core, it is fueled by the joy of discovery, understanding and self-transcendence. It is fueled by the belief in its power to transform lives. It is fueled by the excitement of exploration. It is a sacred endeavor that is best done collaboratively in accordance with norms and rules and cultivates the best in human beings. Today, it faces unprecedented challenges in the lawlessness that pervades the digital world.

At Transylvania, we are developing a robust program to study the uses of digital media so that our students will have the skills required to excel in the digital economy. We are also creating physical spaces on the campus that will foster community and collaboration.

Yet while all this is essential, it will not accomplish what we are after unless we also find and create quiet spaces to reflect on the meaning of the information and data that bombard us every day. In these quiet spaces, the sacredness of our campus and learning are nourished. That is what drew me back to a familiar desk in the stacks of the library last weekend when I returned to my alma mater. The smell of old books filled the silent air, and the troublesome elements of the world were put in their place for a couple of hours.

Seamus Carey is the president of Transylvania University.

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How colleges should respond to the DACA rescission (essay)

Where do we go from here? Having exhausted the vocabulary of outrage in reaction to the contemptible decision of the Trump administration to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programs, or DACA -- albeit with a six-month window daring Congress to come up with legislation to save the day for Dreamers -- we now must turn anger into action to ensure the right outcome for our students and undocumented persons throughout the United States.

With more than 100 undocumented students enrolled at my university, Trinity in Washington, I have a clear interest in making sure that Congress achieves a legislative solution quickly. But for higher education, the issues go well beyond caring for the thousands of Dreamers collectively enrolled in our institutions. This is a moment when college and university leaders must be advocates and activists to affirm some of the most fundamental values of our national commitment to equity and justice for all people.

Make no mistake about it: what the Trump administration, through Attorney General Jeff Sessions, said about Dreamers is utterly reprehensible. He used the ugly slur “illegal aliens,” a phrase that conveys profound contempt for the human beings whose lives are at stake. The context in which he used the slur is even worse: Sessions claimed that DACA “denied jobs to hundreds of thousands of Americans by allowing those same jobs to go to illegal aliens.” That is just not true, and the repetition of this Trump campaign canard is the classic dog whistle to the Trump base that sees immigration as a zero-sum game. Dreamers are not taking jobs away from American citizens. It’s a cheap shot to blame them for the educational and sociological problems that cause some Americans to be underemployed.

Sessions also claimed that DACA gave undocumented young people “executive amnesty,” which is also highly questionable. As the name makes clear, the program only deferred action, rather than conveying any permanent status. President Obama approved the program as a temporary response to the protracted problem of congressional inability to address immigration more systematically.

Knowing the dysfunction of the current Congress and its inability in prior congressional sessions to enact immigration legislation, the manner in which the Trump administration has chosen to put Dreamers at risk of losing the modest protection of DACA is emotionally cruel, leaving them exposed to the uncertainty of the legislative process and the manipulative deal making of congressional leaders. Using the lives of young people as bargaining chips to trade for border wall funds or other political wish list items is despicable.

Nevertheless, here we are, and the urgent needs of our students require immediate actions to alleviate the human crisis the Trump administration’s rollback of DACA has created.

Our top priority is to care for our students in every way possible. To do this, we must know who they are. I’ve been surprised to hear some college and university presidents say that they don’t know who their Dreamers are and they don’t want to know -- not to be heartless, but protective. But ignorance is an ineffective shield from harmful governmental action. We can certainly protect our undocumented students from public exposure, although some are quite courageous in being willing to tell their stories and stand up as public advocates. We surely must protect their private information in the same ways we protect all student information.

What Dreamers really need right now is someone to talk to, people with the capacity on campus to hear their stories and concerns and to be responsive to them. They don’t expect us to have all the answers, but they do need a framework for responding to the current threats to their livelihood, academic status, personal security and family support. They welcome knowing that their administrators and faculty members are their advocates, and that there’s a support system on the campus to respond to their needs.

For some, that support system might be as simple as academic advisers who are able to listen sympathetically, the availability of health services to support their physical and emotional needs, or emergency funds for food and transportation. For others, a support system might include connecting them to immigration legal services or knowing what kinds of concerns they have about families, children and employers. They want to know that their grants and scholarships are secure. They want to know what the institution will do if U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement shows up, a legitimate concern. They want to know if we’ll be able to help if they lose their work permits, a difficult but necessary financial question that we need to figure out.

While caring for our Dreamers, we cannot forget our other students. Three weeks ago, we were reeling from Charlottesville and the terrifying sight of white supremacists marching across the University of Virginia lawn bearing deep racial hatred along with their tiki torches. The issues converge: whether undocumented students or African-American or Asian or Latino students, the deep American disorder of racial and ethnic hatred afflicts our campus families as much as the larger community. We cannot prefer one over another; rather, in addressing the issues, we need to bring everyone on our campuses into the discussion and development of effective responses to the hatred, fear and stress our students are feeling at this ugly moment in American history.

Even as we care for our students, as academics we also need to stand up for the truth. This is precisely the place where teaching intersects with advocacy, and we cannot shrink from that responsibility. When a public official uses a slur -- “illegal aliens” -- we must confront this offense against human dignity. When a public official makes a statement to justify policy that has no basis in fact -- Dreamers are taking American jobs, e.g. -- we need to call it out and state the facts. Colleges and universities must be the bulwark in our society against official assaults on truth.

We should be fearless in confronting issues of law and human rights. We can and should challenge the Trump administration’s narrative that the rescission of DACA is a “compassionate” end to “lawlessness.” Whether DACA was an appropriate exercise of executive authority is an interesting legal debate, but the plain fact remains that the United States provided a legitimate form of humanitarian relief to Dreamers that should not be removed abruptly for political reasons. Newark Cardinal Joseph Tobin said it best this week: “One can’t hide behind the term ‘legality’ in rescinding DACA. That is an abandonment of humanity, and abandonment of talented and hopeful young people who are as American as you and I. The rule of law, first, last and always, must provide a humane, moral code to organize, protect and advance society based on the best ideals and beliefs in our hearts and minds.”

Finally, we need to get an effective legislative solution and fast. To get the right result in Congress, higher education should consider doing something we rarely do -- join forces across industries and social organizations to let Congress know how wide and deep the demand is to provide an effective legal remedy for Dreamers. Polls reveal that a large majority of American voters want Dreamers to stay in the United States.

Fixing DACA is not just a higher education issue but a national challenge that has galvanized businesses and organizations from Silicon Valley to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. I have never seen such intense public words from the bishops in characterizing the Trump action -- words like “reprehensible” and “heartless” and “malicious.” We college and university presidents have many ties to top business leaders among our alumni and trustees. The Catholic colleges operate in collaboration with USCCB. Our institutions work with countless other organizations and associations that want justice for Dreamers. We should come together in coalition with all of these powerful allies to make sure that Congress does not dally nor tie the fate of Dreamers to unworthy political trade-offs. Human lives are at stake. There’s no time to lose.

Patricia McGuire is president of Trinity Washington University.

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Trump-backed bill would halve legal immigration, create points-based system privileging educational attainment


Bill would seek to slash legal immigration levels in half. And while graduates of U.S. universities would get an edge in obtaining employment-based green cards, the number of green cards available would not increase.

What do we know so far about changes to U.S. visa and immigration policies?

Since Trump came into office, questions have swirled around U.S. visa and border policy. What’s changed so far, what hasn’t, and what does it all mean for higher education?

Visiting scholar detained and nearly deported

Texas A&M intervened when French Holocaust scholar headed to a conference was blocked from leaving the airport.

The negative impact of the executive immigration order on foreign scholars (essay)

As I type this, my eyes flicker over my smartphone, anxiously looking for a text to show that a scholar we once helped has been allowed back into the United States after brief trip abroad. He has lived and worked here 10 years and raised a beautiful family. His three children are American citizens. His crime back home in Syria was peacefully fighting for democracy and human rights, work he has continued in this country.

His alleged offense here? He comes from there.

Airports around the country and around the world have been unnecessarily thrown into chaos and confusion in recent weeks as a result of an executive order by the Trump administration to bar travel to the United States from nationals of seven predominantly Muslim nations. Immediately after the order, senior citizens, solo travelers and parents with children were all delayed, turned back and, in some cases, detained -- but not because of who they are or what they have done. On the contrary -- it was because of where they come from and how they might pray.

Although partial clarifications from the administration regarding green card holders and some dual nationals, and subsequent court orders, have at least temporarily mitigated some of the order’s negative impacts, grave and lasting damage has already been done. The “gotcha” imposition of the blanket bans on entry, and even on re-entry for those who were here and showed themselves to pose no threat, expose the administration’s predisposition to paint with a broad brush. As a result, even if the legal challenges ultimately reverse the order in its entirety, all immigrants, refugees and visa holders will be forced to live with uncertainty and doubt about their future prospects in the United States.

Among those most affected have been many scholars and students at American colleges and universities, including some we at Scholars at Risk, an international network of higher education institutions and individuals, have worked to protect: scholars and student leaders who risk everything to stand up to authoritarian states and militant radicals alike.

Stand up for what? For values essential to higher education, values America has traditionally stood for: freedom of thought, inquiry, expression and belief. Scholars at Risk offers them a lifeboat so they can keep fighting for those values in a safe place. This rash executive order threatens to sink that lifeboat.

It imposes hardship on the people caught outside, even while it denies support to those fighting for freedom and democracy in their home countries, often against the very same forces intent on harming the United States.

It also imposes huge costs in time and resources on host campuses, whose staff members and leadership are already going to heroic efforts to help stranded scholars and students get back or otherwise to resume their studies, teaching and research.

It means campuses and industry alike can expect even more extensive delays in processing study, work and visitor visas, and possibly higher rates of denials of requests. The latter not because applicants have done anything inappropriate, but because the executive order suggests that instead of showing the valuable, creative work that they want to do during their time in the United States, scholars and students must somehow prove that they don’t want to do unspecified harmful acts imagined by a fear-infused administration.

Meanwhile those currently in this country will be advised not to leave here unless absolutely necessary. And this is not just for people from the seven countries flagged in the executive order. They are just the first wave, as administration officials have already suggested publicly that additional countries may be added. Already scholars and students in America are canceling field research, exchanges and conference participations, making studying and working here less attractive. But equally it means straining families and agonizing decisions to skip weddings, births, visits to aging parents and funerals. Arbitrarily forcing such decisions through blanket, rash actions -- in the administration’s terms, “ripping off the Band-Aid” -- does not strengthen America. It makes us weaker.

Inevitably the executive order will drive foreign scholars and students who are considering study or work abroad to think more favorably about other, more welcoming places to make their careers, including Great Britain, Europe and even China and the Gulf nations. Already there is talk of scholars abroad skipping annual conferences in the United States and moving major academic projects elsewhere. This risks making American higher education and education-dependent industries less competitive, and that may ultimately cost our nation jobs, let alone incalculable costs to its honor and prestige. Driving foreign scholars and students away isn’t smart and won’t make us safer. Real security comes not from such shortsightedness but from seeing over the horizon.

What should American colleges and universities do now?

  • Keep doing what they do best. Already many institutions have publicly communicated their commitment to core higher education values and their support for students and scholars directly impacted by the executive order -- those caught outside and those inside the United States alike. They should be commended for this, and for their behind-the-scenes efforts to mitigate the harms and cruelties of the executive order. (What if alumni who are proud of their institution’s response sent a check to show their support? Institutions could use the funds to support vulnerable scholars and students hurt by the order.)
  • Redouble efforts to seek, support and tell the truth. The executive order operationalizes fear and a distrust of the procedures and American personnel engaged in vetting visitors, but without any coherent data or analysis in support of those views. Universities, scholars and students have an obligation to gather, share and present data to inform the debate and any future policy adjustments, which may have major effects not only for higher education but also the entire nation. Such efforts should include gathering data and stories on the people affected by the new restrictions, and sharing that information with elected officials, policy makers and the media so that the negative impacts of the order are widely known.
  • Continue to build inclusive dialogue on campuses, in communities and across the nation. Colleges and universities should invite those inside America who are affected by the executive order to tell their stories about the order’s impact on their lives -- to allow their stories and bravery to stand in contrast to the fear and cruelty of the executive order. They should organize conferences and public events to expose those impacts. And they should continue to invite scholars and students from abroad -- especially those from targeted countries and those at risk for their work and for supporting free inquiry and expression -- to work, study, visit and attend conferences and events. Even if their applications are denied, we must insist on the inclusion of such scholars and students in our research and learning communities, even as we expose the arbitrary and shortsighted nature of their exclusion.

Robert Quinn is the executive director of Scholars at Risk, a network of over 450 higher education institutions in 35 countries headquartered at New York University and dedicated to protecting threatened scholars and university communities worldwide. For information on hosting threatened scholars, joining the network or otherwise supporting Scholars at Risk, visit

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Judge blocks enforcement of Trump's entry ban


Judge's ruling cited impact on higher education; some students who were blocked from the U.S. a week ago are returning.

A liberal education includes learning from people with whom one disagrees (essay)

I was horrified reading the latest diktat on immigration from an administration blown into power by the winds of intolerance and resentment. President Trump’s executive order barring immigrants and nonimmigrant visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States is an exercise in cynical obfuscation, bigotry and hard-heartedness.

The obfuscation begins early on with the linking of this crackdown to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 when, as has been pointed out by many commentators, those responsible for those attacks had no connections to the countries targeted by this order. The bigotry of the decree closing our borders to refugees from these seven countries is most evident in the exception it makes for religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries.

The hard-heartedness of the executive order is unmistakable. Desperate families who have been thoroughly vetted for months have had their dreams of a safe haven in America shattered. Students, scientists, artists and businesspeople who have played by the immigration rules to ensure that they have secure passage to and from the United States now find themselves in limbo. Colleges and universities that attract and depend on international talent will be weakened. So much for the so-called respect for law of an administration that has made a point of promising to crack down on undocumented children brought over the Mexican border by their parents.

Eighteen months ago I solicited ideas from Wesleyan alumni, faculty members, students and staff members as to what a small liberal arts institution like ours could do in the face of the momentous human tragedy unfolding around the world. We discussed the many ideas we received on our campus and with leaders of other institutions. The steps we took were small ones, appropriate to the scale of our institution. Working with the Scholars at Risk program, we welcomed a refugee scholar from Syria to participate in one of our interdisciplinary centers. We created internships for students who wanted to work at refugee sites in the Middle East or assist local effort at resettlement. We began working with the Institute of International Education to bring a Syrian student to Wesleyan. And, perhaps most important, we redoubled our efforts to educate the campus about the genesis and development of the crisis.

In the last few months, I have traveled to China and India to talk about the benefits of pragmatic liberal education, and in both countries I saw extraordinary enthusiasm for coming to America to pursue a broad, contextual education that will develop the student’s capacity to learn from diverse sets of sources. Since returning, I’ve already received questions from anxious international students and their parents about whether we will continue to welcome people from abroad who seek a first-rate education. Students outside the United States are often fleeing educational systems with constraints on inquiry and communication; they are rejecting censorship and premature specialization, and they are looking to us. Will they continue to do so?

Here at home we must resist orchestrated parochialism of all kinds. A liberal education includes deepening one’s ability to learn from people with whom one doesn’t agree, but the politics of resentment sweeping across our country is substituting demonization for curiosity. Without tolerance and open-mindedness, inquiry is just a path to self-congratulation at best, violent scapegoating at worst.

With this latest executive order, the White House has provided colleges and universities the occasion to teach our students more thoroughly about the vagaries of refugee aid from wealthy, developed countries that are themselves in political turmoil. The new administration has also unwittingly provided lessons in the tactics of scapegoating and distraction traditionally used by strongmen eager to cement their own power. There are plenty of historical examples of how in times of crisis leaders make sweeping edicts without regard to human rights or even their own legal traditions.

Our current security crisis has been manufactured by a leadership team eager to increase a state of fear and discrimination in order to bolster its own legitimacy. The fantasy of the need for “extreme vetting” is a noxious mystification created by a weak administration seeking to distract citizens from attending to important economic, political and social issues. Such issues require close examination with a patient independence of mind and a respect for inquiry that demands rejection of falsification and obfuscation.

As the press is attacked with increasing vehemence for confronting the administration with facts, universities have a vital role to play in helping students understand the importance of actual knowledge about the world -- including the operations of politics. To play that role well, universities must be open to concerns and points of view from across the ideological spectrum -- not just from those who share conventional professorial political perspectives. At Wesleyan, we have raised funds to bring more conservative faculty to campus so that our students benefit from a greater diversity of perspectives on matters such as international relations, economic development, the public sphere and personal freedom. Refusing bigotry should be the opposite of creating a bubble of ideological homogeneity.

As I write this op-ed, demonstrators across the country are standing up for the rights of immigrants and refugees. They recognize that being horrified is not enough, and they are standing up for the rule of law and for traditions of decency and hospitality that can be perfectly compatible with national security.

America’s new administration is clearly eager to set a new direction. As teachers and students, we must reject intimidation and cynicism and learn from these early proclamations and the frightening direction in which they point. Let us take what we learn and use it to resist becoming another historical example of a republic undermined by the corrosive forces of obfuscation, bigotry and hard-heartedness.

Michael S. Roth is president of Wesleyan University and author, most recently, of Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters.

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How faculty members and administrators can help immigrant students (essay)

Several days ago, President Trump issued an executive order barring immigrants and nonimmigrant visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States -- significantly impacting many students and scholars. This follows on the heels of two other executive orders focused on immigration enforcement and border security that he signed last week, which froze refugee admissions and called for the immediate construction of a wall along the southwestern border of the country.

In addition, the president has ordered federal immigration enforcement agencies to increase efforts to deport undocumented immigrants with criminal records, called for the construction of additional detention facilities and restored the controversial “secure communities” program that compelled state and local law enforcement officials to collaborate with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to enforce federal immigration law.

None of the recent executive orders concerned the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, initiated by President Obama in 2012, which provides a two-year protection from deportation and employment authorization to select undocumented youth and young adults, many of whom are enrolled in our colleges and universities. However, Trump’s aggressive approach to immigration enforcement and his characterization of unauthorized immigrants as “a significant threat to national security and public safety” has already begun to cause upheaval and hardship within immigrant communities -- and this will inevitably have a negative impact on undocumented students, as well as on U.S. citizen and permanent resident students from mixed-status families. Moreover, despite White House statements promising a more nuanced approach to DACA recipients, fears that the new administration may still rescind DACA are not without basis.

In anticipation of the Trump administration’s promises to target the U.S.’s approximately 11 million undocumented residents, over the past few months, campuses nationwide have developed sanctuary statements or issued declarations in support of educational access for all students, regardless of their immigration status. In the past few days, campuses are also now scrambling to provide emergency legal advice and services to faculty members and students from “barred” Muslim nations who, although visa holders, are confronting difficulties returning to America following authorized travel abroad. In many cases, campuses are advising those faculty and student members -- even those who are U.S. permanent residents, and all of whom have already been through extensive vetting during the visa application process -- to avoid leaving the country until the precise parameters of the new immigration enforcement directives are determined.

No one knows with certainty what policies the Trump administration will implement, or what impact they will have in the long term on faculty members and students who have immigrated legally to the United States from barred Muslim nations. What is certain is that undocumented students and students from mixed-status families will also face increased challenges under this new presidential administration. It has long been difficult for such student to earn money, drive legally, travel and afford college tuition. Without clear pathways to legalization, many also experience anxiety about their futures. These are not new problems, but in light of the White House’s recent orders, our undocumented students will face even greater obstacles to their academic success and well-being.

While most university faculty, staff and administrators may not be in a position to directly influence federal immigration law or enforcement priorities, we do have the ability -- indeed, we would argue, the responsibility -- to mediate the impact of immigration policies on undocumented students. As immigration scholars and engaged teachers who work closely with undocumented students, we offer the following suggestions for faculty and administrators to consider.

Be aware of the wide range of people affected by proposed changes to immigration policy. About a fifth of the undocumented residents in the United States are youth and young adults who arrived in America as children, and an additional 16.6 million people live in mixed-status families where at least one member is undocumented. It is important to recognize that anticipated changes to immigration policies will impact not only undocumented students but also permanent resident students concerned about their undocumented parents, relatives, friends and community members. These issues affect individuals from a wide range of ethnic, racial and national origins.

Educate yourself about the laws and policies that impact undocumented students’ educational access. Learn the details of your own state laws here. For example, in California, certain undocumented students can pay in-state tuition at public universities, and the California Dream Act makes state financial aid available to those students. We often find that students do not distinguish those laws from their DACA status, which leads to unnecessary anxiety. Review the recommendations provided by national organizations such as United We Dream and the National Immigration Law Center. Even after educating yourself, recognize your limitations and the high stakes involved for the student who is seeking your advice. It is better to say, “I don’t know,” than to give out misinformation.

Signal to students that you are supportive. Undocumented students often rely on stereotypes to identify faculty and staff members with whom they feel they can safely share their immigration status or ask for help. They may, for example, perceive that “coming out” to faculty members who identify as Latina/o, or as immigrants, presents less of a risk than disclosing their status to white or native-born citizen faculty members. In reality, of course, allies are found among people from all ethnic and racial backgrounds, but some of us may need to do a little more to provide students with verbal and/or visible cues that demonstrate that we are supportive of the undocumented student community. Many colleges and universities offer ally training and provide those that complete it with a sticker to exhibit in their office; do this if the opportunity is available to you. If not, you can signal that you are supportive by displaying flyers about immigration-related events or hanging immigration-related artwork. In your course syllabi, explain how you will accommodate immigration-related emergencies in terms of attendance, late work, extensions and incompletes. Although you may feel that is already described in your institution’s existing policies for medical or familial emergencies, making it explicit sends a powerful signal of both symbolic and concrete support for students confronting immigration crises.

(Re)consider how you discuss immigration-related issues and the current political climate in your classroom. Advise students in advance before initiating classroom discussions of immigration issues, especially if that is not on the agenda from the syllabus. Remind your students that you will be bring up topics that personally impact many people living in the United States and ask those students to frame their participation in ways that are respectful of different experiences and opinions. Avoid spotlighting individual students according to their citizenship status or immigrant background during class discussion. (For example: “Kim, as an immigrant, can you share how you feel about Trump’s proposal to deport three million criminal aliens?”)

Maintain student confidentiality and privacy. Do not refer to students’ citizenship or immigration status in public conversations or written communication. Only do so when necessary and with the students’ permission, such as when helping them identify resources or explaining their personal background in letters of recommendation.

Use appropriate terminology when discussing immigration issues. Many people find the terms “illegal immigration” and “illegal immigrant” offensive; they often prefer “undocumented” and “unauthorized.” Some students may also use the term “DREAMer,” originally a reference to the proposed federal DREAM Act, which would have provided undocumented students with a path to legalization but that now alludes to various state laws that provide educational access. But other students may reject that nomenclature because it suggests that undocumented students are more deserving of support than other undocumented people.

Provide resources that will help mediate the financial instability that many students will also be facing. A recent systemwide survey at the University of California conducted by one of us, Laura E. Enriquez, found that 63 percent of the undocumented students at the UC have experienced food insecurity during the past academic year. Thus, even a small measure can be helpful, such as offering healthy snacks like granola bars during office hours or meetings with students. You can also try to put course readings on library reserve so that students can devote their financial resources toward living expenses. It’s also good to find out and counsel students on whether they can access waivers for course materials fees or tutoring services. It is possible that undocumented students, many of whom are first-generation college students, do not know about these resources or that they may be inadvertently denied access to them.

You can also lobby for additional resources as needed. Encourage your institution to establish alternative legal forms of employment, internships or research opportunities to undocumented students lacking work authorization by providing payment via stipends or as independent contractors. Consider donating to scholarship and/or emergency funds for impacted students. If your campus doesn’t have one, help start one.

Offer career and graduate preparation opportunities. Undocumented students struggle to develop career-relevant work experience or access research opportunities to prepare for graduate school -- in some cases, because they are DACA ineligible and therefore lack the work authorization that allows them to accept paid internships or research assistantships; in other cases, it is because they are ineligible, as noncitizens, to apply for certain programs; and finally, it may be because, like other first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students, they lack the understanding or social capital that facilitates securing these kinds of positions. To that end, Enriquez’s survey of undocumented students in the UC system found that only 31 percent feel prepared to achieve their career goals, and only 49 percent have had a career-relevant experience like an internship or research opportunity. As faculty members and administrators, consider offering independent study courses, sponsoring research opportunities and identifying internships that are open regardless of immigration status. Work with your institution to figure out a method for paying immigrant students for their labor in these areas.

Identify, improve and refer students to campus and community resources. Immigrant students will probably need special guidance and encouragement to access academic resources, financial aid, legal services and mental-health counseling. Familiarize yourself with the resources available at your college or university and in your surrounding community. Identify knowledgeable staff members in relevant campus offices to whom you can refer students directly. Lobby your institution to identify, train and raise awareness of point people in various offices so that students can easily find them and access correct information. Enriquez’s survey also found that 56 percent of the undocumented students at the University of California report being given inaccurate or incorrect information from a staff member about how to complete a university procedure. If your institution does not have a staff member dedicated to supporting undocumented students, advocate for one.

Identify and raise awareness about your campus’s policies regarding undocumented students. Currently, U.S. immigration officials consider educational institutions, including colleges and universities, to be “sensitive locations” where enforcement actions “generally should be avoided.” You should try to identify under what circumstances you and others are your institution are legally required to share student information and provide access to immigration enforcement officers. Your institution should work with legal counsel to clearly lay out under what circumstances cooperation is required and designate a senior administrator to promptly respond to any staff or faculty members who receive information requests or visits from immigration enforcement officials. It should ensure that faculty members know whom to contact if they receive such requests or visits and publicize procedures for reporting and documenting hate speech and threatening incidents on the campus. It is important for campuses to assess their own situations in order to respond appropriately.

The actions that we’ve outlined are just a few ways that faculty members and administrators can provide support for students facing immigration-related crises. Although they are small steps, our research and work with students suggest that they can and do make a difference. We firmly believe that collaboration among students, faculty members and administrators is essential to supporting undocumented students and students from mixed-status families as we move forward.

Finally, despite the multiple -- often invisible -- ways undocumented people contribute to the U.S. economy and society, we think it is important to recognize that only a tiny percentage of undocumented people in the United States ever benefit from the opportunity to pursue a higher education. With this in mind, we encourage educators to also consider how they can support the broader undocumented immigrant population in their communities and nationwide.

Anita Casavantes Bradford is associate professor of Chicano/Latino studies and history at the University of California, Irvine. Laura E. Enriquez is assistant professor of Chicano/Latino studies at the University of California, Irvine. Susan Bibler Coutin is professor of criminology, law, and society and anthropology at the University of California, Irvine.

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Four areas campuses should focus on to encourage diversity and inclusion over the next four years (essay)

The campaign and transition period following the election of Donald Trump have affected our campuses in a variety of ways that challenge our basic values of diversity and inclusion and that demand our response as academic leaders. Incidents involving our new U.S. president -- such as making fun of a reporter with a physical disability, supporting the “locking up” of a presidential candidate with no recognition of the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” in the political environment, and others too numerous too name -- have apparently made some people on college campuses think it’s OK to express the same disregard for our fundamental rights and lack of respect for our fellow Americans.

Already a range of academics and institutions, including the American Anthropological Association, of which I am a past president, have spoken out against the increasing number of racist and misogynistic incidents and hate speech directed at others on our campuses.

But volatility and uncertainty on these issues seem likely to continue in the foreseeable future. Consider, for example, that Richard Spencer, leader of the so-called alt-right and spokesman for white nationalism, has announced plans to target campuses with a tour conveying the message, among other things, that “we are awesome … We should be trying to expand white privilege, not feel guilty about it.”

So what can institutions and individuals committed to social justice do to keep diversity and inclusion values and programs on the table for the next four years? I believe there are two overarching answers to this question. First, we must equip our students to understand the historical context of today’s social environment, how our democracy got to the point that we are so openly politically divided and focused on blaming our social ills on “others” who do not look like us or have the same religious or political beliefs. Second, we must reinforce the principle that embracing diversity and inclusion is the strength of our democracy, not its weakness, and that respecting difference is a first step.

While the challenges reverberate throughout our campuses, I am seeing at least four areas in which the Trump effect has exacerbated divisions among students, administrators and faculty members on our campuses and has created new, more intense imperatives for those committed to diversity. They are:

Support undocumented students. President Trump has previously said he will terminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an executive action signed into law by his predecessor Barack Obama in 2012 that exempts some undocumented immigrants from deportation and provides a two-year renewable work permit. The policy guidelines state that applicants must have been in the United States since June 15, 2007, and cannot have been convicted of certain crimes. In California, we have thousands of DACA students in our classes, and we are seeing their anxiety and panic as they try to figure out what is happening to them. The psychological effects are undermining their ability to concentrate on their studies.

At the University of California, Riverside, Chancellor Kim Wilcox has sent a letter to our entire campus confirming that we are not turning away from our commitment to DACA students. The heads of the University of California, California State University and California Community College systems together wrote to Trump “imploring” him to continue the DACA program so that affected students can “pursue their dream of higher education without fear of being arrested, deported or rounded up for just trying to learn.” And on our campus, we are also offering special counseling and flexible test-taking schedules for students who are traumatized by the environment of uncertainty. Such actions go a long way toward reassuring our undocumented students that we are doing all we can to help them finish their education.

Protect protesters on both sides of contentious issues. In light of the increasing manifestation on our campuses of views that are racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, Islamophobic and misogynistic, we must strive to maintain an environment in which views on all points of the spectrum can be heard. At the same time, as faculty members, we must model for our students how it is possible to hold a set of values and beliefs, and how to listen to and acknowledge other points of view, even while not agreeing with them.

It is unfortunate that the words of our new president have sent a signal to some people that seems to validate this type of discriminatory and disrespectful behavior. But it is not acceptable, and we must continue to enforce our long-held policies and practices to counter this ugly and hateful turn of events. Our goal is to make the campus a safe space for all our students, not just for some. Some of the specific ways we can do that are to encourage activities such as teach-ins, campus-community forums, information workshops, vigils and peaceful demonstrations as alternatives to potentially violent public confrontations.

Prevent and enforce policies against sexual assault. Under the leadership of the Obama administration, especially with the passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, colleges and universities across the country have been strengthening their policies and practices to encourage students to report sexual harassment and sexual assault incidents. We are trying to deal with deeply misogynistic values and rape culture that discourage victims from reporting incidents and often results in failure to prosecute cases.

The campaign atmosphere suggesting that “stars” can get away with any sexual behavior they want sent a very negative message to our students, both to those who may commit assaults and to victims who are afraid to report them. We need to double down on our efforts to show all students, whether they are athletes, or members of fraternities, clubs or other organizations, that there is no place for sexual harassment or assault on our campuses. We need to provide opportunities, such as forums and other activities mentioned above, where students can ask the questions that are on their minds and express their anger, frustration and concerns.

Reinforce global learning and teaching. We have been preparing our students to live and work in the global community for at least two decades through our liberal arts curriculum. There is no going back! Our students are steeped in both local and global acts every day. Through their courses and other campus experiences, our job is to continue to help them see and understand those connections, as well as to understand and interact with people of other cultures, religions and worldviews.

One thing we have learned from the election is that families from the Rust Belt, the Deep South and the heartland believe that they have been denied participation in a positive vision for the future of this country. I am involved with two very promising international programs, the Global Citizenship Alliance and the Mellon Global Citizenship Program, that aim to educate working-class and first-generation students from those regions (both historically black colleges and universities and Appalachian colleges and universities working together) about how directly they are tied from their local communities to the wider world. The types of on-the-ground experiences that these programs offer are producing different thinking about empowerment and the ability to chart one’s future.

At the same time, we need to continue to encourage international student exchanges. This works in two directions. First, we need to take steps to ensure that students from other countries (for example, those from the Middle East who may be concerned about Islamophobia) will feel comfortable here. Second, we need to prepare the students we send abroad to stay safe and respond if they are challenged about our country’s and Trump’s policies. In other words, in an atmosphere where “globalization” is too often narrowly interpreted as an economic policy to destroy American jobs, our goal should continue to be to make teaching and learning about globalization beneficial for all.

Why We Must Act Now

It is important for us to act now because, foremost, the mission of our colleges and universities is quite different from the narrower two- or four-year agendas of a particular political administration. We are entrusted to create new knowledge and to educate the next generation of Americans to be the citizens who will lead this great experiment in inclusive democracy to the next level.

We need both collective and individual action. In California we have the commitment from leaders of our institutions. This provides us with the environment that we need as individual faculty members to support students who are caught up in the uncertainties of what the new administration will mean to them. But for all of us, throughout the landscape of higher education, we have to keep our focus on these goals of the value of diversity, inclusion and social justice and be the change we want to see -- regardless of who is at the helm of our country. The longer we wait, the more difficult the task will become.

Yolanda T. Moses is professor of anthropology and recent associate vice chancellor for Diversity, Excellence and Equity at the University of California, Riverside. She is a past president of the American Anthropology Association.

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