President Lee Pelton, a forceful advocate for the rights of immigrants, has joined a coalition of more than two dozen college and university presidents aimed at improving how campuses address immigration-related matters.
The Alliance will support the adoption of best practices on member campuses and create a unified message around the need for state and federal policies that allow immigrant, undocumented, and international students to study in safe and welcoming environments.
“The Presidents' Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration will raise public understanding of how immigration policies affect our diverse communities and our campuses,” Pelton said in a statement.
Pelton has been a vocal advocate for immigrant students and staff, particularly since last September, when the Trump administration announced it would rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
In October, Pelton signed on to the Dream Coalition, a national, bipartisan group of civic, community, and higher education leaders who pledge to support and protect the Dreamers, young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. by their families when they were children and are covered by DACA.
Last month, Emerson College signed on to an amicus brief supporting DACA and its millions of Dreamers, which was filed in the case of the Regents of the University of California vs. the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. And later in November, Pelton was the keynote speaker at the 13th annual “Our Shared Table” luncheon hosted by the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Coalition at the State House.
“Every young person raised and educated in the United States, documented or not, deserves to attend college if she or he wishes, so they might become contributing members of our wonderfully and increasingly diverse society,” Pelton said in his November 21 speech.
“The job of colleges and universities is to prepare a new generation of civic-minded leaders to make of this old world a new world. They are leading the way towards a brighter future. And we should not shut the doors of opportunity before they have had a chance to walk through them.”
Members of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration include presidents and chancellors of the following institutions: Bard College, George Mason University, Rutgers University-Newark, Utah State University, Ithaca College, Arizona State University, Lehman College, CUNY; Georgetown University, Princeton University, Northampton Community College, Harvard University, Guilford College, Mills College, Wellesley College, Southeastern University, Agnes Scott College, George Washington University, University of California-Merced, Trinity Washington University, University of Texas-El Paso, Miami Dade College, Nevada State College, Davidson College, University of Memphis, Pomona College, and The California State University.