Response to Dreamer Committee’s annual report
February 22, 2017
Dear Dreamer Committee,
We want to thank each of you for the thorough report you submitted in December. We have had the opportunity to review, discuss, and thoughtfully reflect upon the various elements of the report. It was also shared with the Council of Deans, whose feedback was carefully considered as we developed this response.
• Click here to read the full Dreamer Committee report.
• Click here for a list of resources available on campus and throughout the community.
Your report does an excellent job of showcasing the comprehensive commitment that Loyola University Chicago has made to undocumented students throughout the years. The University has taken a leadership role in supporting undocumented students for several years, and as you know, we have garnered national attention for our support of DACA students in the Stritch School of Medicine. Much of the progress we have made advocating for and supporting undocumented undergraduate and graduate students is due to the passionate commitment and hard work of the Dreamer Committee members and all those in our community who recognize the centrality of this commitment to our Jesuit, Catholic mission.
We are closely monitoring the DACA issue and related executive orders. This is an extraordinarily dynamic situation with wide-ranging implications for our institution and most especially for our students. In partnership with sister institutions, Loyola has committed that we will continue to protect, to the fullest extent of the law, undocumented students on our campuses and strongly promote retention of the DACA program. Last month, both the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) met to discuss a number of critical issues, including the status of DACA and the executive order establishing the travel ban.
In Washington, DC, Philip Hale, vice president for government affairs, and Dr. Rooney convened meetings with Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, as well as congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle, to advocate on behalf of our students. We support the bipartisan BRIDGE Act, a legislative solution to protect DACA students. It is clear that by working together with our higher education partners and coalitions, we can strategically leverage our resources and maximize our efforts on behalf of our students. In addition to our University statements of support, the public statements that we have signed onto with the ACCU, AJCU, American Council on Education, and Pomona College reflect that shared and ongoing commitment.
Your report recommends that Loyola adopt the term “sanctuary university” as a way to send a “strong message of solidarity and support.” Since the presidential election, the term “sanctuary” has been appropriated for factional purposes without any clear or uniform definition regarding what that term implies and the commitment it entails for institutions who have adopted it. We are, as you know, actively engaged in advocating for our students and ensuring the protection and dignity of all the members of our community. After much reflection and discussion, we feel strongly that taking these affirmative actions is much more impactful and articulates our commitment more clearly than adopting a generic term that can be divisive and, in some cases, inflammatory and partisan. Loyola’s message and actions of solidarity and support will continue to advocate for and support undocumented students in a public way, however, we will not adopt the designation “sanctuary university.”
The University is also aggressively moving on a number of fronts to support our students and to anticipate future executive orders that may impact Loyola and all institutions of higher education. These concurrent, multifaceted efforts detailed below demonstrate our commitment to our undocumented students and to our mission. They align with a number of your recommendations, and we agree that there are several next steps to advance our collective effort.
Partnerships—In addition to our active work with the AJCU and the ACCU, several partnerships have been established. We are working with ENVOY on communications around legal rights for DACA students and recently held a workshop, “Know Your Rights.” The Health Sciences Division has been working with The Resurrection Project and Trinity Health. We are seeking additional partnerships and know your committee members will have ideas and contacts to consider.
Financial Support—The University will continue to support undocumented students with scholarship opportunities and loan support, and we continue to investigate funding streams to assist us with this task. Some of the current support we provide include:
- Full scholarships will continue to be awarded to five new students for their baccalaureate experience. We will move this program forward to ensure that recipients can focus on their education during their time at Loyola.
- The School of Law will offer scholarships to fund five law students, as the state now allows DACA students to sit for the Bar Exam.
- Health Sciences will continue its work with lenders to provide loans to current Stritch School of Medicine students.
- More than 60 Arrupe DACA students are receiving scholarships.
- A generous gift from an anonymous alumni couple will provide support toward tuition, room, board, mentoring, and other programming for talented students who complete their associate’s degree at Arrupe College and are accepted into a bachelor’s degree program at Loyola University Chicago.
- Stephen Katsouros, S.J., Arrupe College dean and executive director, is identifying educational and financial partnerships to support students throughout their collegiate experiences. There are ongoing conversations with other colleges and universities that are eager to create a pathway toward a bachelor’s degree for Arrupe students.
- The student fee-funded Magis scholarship of $50,000, with a match gift, was approved in 2015. The first new students to benefit from the generosity of other students will begin their studies in the 2017–2018 academic year.
We also remain committed, along with all higher education institutions, to upholding the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to protect the privacy of student education records. More information on the University’s FERPA policy, which contains information regarding a student’s rights under FERPA, is available at LUC.edu/ferpa.
Finally, Campus Safety remains committed to preserving the personal safety and dignity of every person in our University community, without concern for any individual’s heritage, ethnicity, religion, or immigration status. The International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA), of which we are a member, will continue to monitor changes in U.S. immigration policy and our Campus Safety administrators will work closely with IACLEA, the Chicago Police Department, and other law enforcement agencies to protect all our students to the fullest extent of the law.
While this letter is in specific response to the committee’s report, we would like to reiterate our ongoing commitment to actively monitor the rapidly evolving DACA and immigration situation in the U.S. We are pleased that recent memoranda from the Department of Homeland Security do not impact current DACA students and their status. We will continue to communicate with the University community and, if necessary, adapt the University’s approach in the context of our mission and in alignment with the Archdiocese of Chicago who, like us, is committed to protecting immigrant women and men to the fullest extent of the law.
Again, thank you for preparing this annual report. We will post this response on the Office of the President website, along with a link to your annual report, which we will also post on the Diversity and Inclusion website.
Your passion and commitment to advancing the promise of a just society, rooted in our Jesuit, Catholic mission, is making a transformative impact on Loyola and all our students.
Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD
John P. Pelissero, PhD
Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Margaret Faut Callahan, CRNA, PhD, FNAP, FAAN
Provost, Health Sciences Division