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Faculty united in support of all Roadrunners

A recently passed Faculty Senate resolution publicly supports undocumented and immigrant students.

By Cory Phare

March 15, 2017

The MSU Denver faculty “…are committed to promoting safe learning spaces that allow for critical thinking, free, informed and engaged dialogue, for all of our students, including our most vulnerable.”

That was the sentiment expressed within a recent Faculty Senate resolution, which passed with an overwhelming majority on March 1.

The resolution cites documented acts of violence and hate speech on the Auraria campus targeting minorities and expresses the need to support undocumented students pursuing their education.

According to Adriana Nieto, Ph.D., associate professor of Chicana/o Studies, it’s a message of commitment to all students. “We can’t support them off campus, but while they’re here, they need to know that faculty care about them and are conscious of their struggles,” she said. “To the extent we can, we’re supporting their right to a safe, inclusive learning environment.”

The resolution refers to the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act (FERPA), which restricts the sharing of educational records and information. And, accordingly, the document says faculty members will honor FERPA and “…for the purposes of immigration enforcement, will not cooperate with the arrest, interview, search and/or surveillance of any member of the MSU Denver community, without a judicial order or lawfully issued subpoena.”

Faculty reinforced the dedication to standing by the entire student population, noting how the current environment’s uncertainty can affect the ability to succeed.

“Our students are so committed; to hear the emotional stress they’re under is heartbreaking,” said Nieto. “They’ve told us that this commitment from the faculty means a lot.”

MSU Denver President Stephen Jordan continues to publicly reinforce the University’s commitment to undocumented students and has signed the Pomona Letter, wherein higher education leaders reaffirm commitment to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) bill.

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