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Harvard community demands protection for undocumented students

Students, staff and faculty of the elite university delivered a petition asking the administration to protect undocumented students.
Harvard students, staff and faculty hear stories from undocumented students at HarvarEli Nelson @eliaswnelson / Twitter

In the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s win and his recent comments on immigration, undocumented college students are mobilizing for their own protection.

More than 100 Harvard University students, staff and faculty gathered in front of Widener Library on Monday to urge the administration to protect undocumented students. More than 4,000 Harvard University students have signed a petition demanding action from the university administration, according to student paper The Harvard Crimson.


“Harvard’s mission demands that the administration move beyond releasing a statement and implement concrete actions that protect all Harvard students—especially those members of our community who have been targets of discrimination during a hate-filled and anxiety-inducing election cycle,” the petition reads.

Though Harvard University as a whole—the undergraduate, graduate, research centers and affiliation communities—does not have one central mission, according to the university website, the Harvard College (undergraduate) Handbook for Students does.

“Harvard seeks to identify and to remove restraints on students’ full participation, so that individuals may explore their capabilities and interests and may develop their full intellectual and human potential,” the mission statement reads in part.



The petition addresses that specific objective, saying that it is “more pressing than ever” under a Trump administration.
“What does the election of Donald J. Trump mean to the undocumented students currently enrolled at Harvard?” the petition asks the administration. “Trump’s first change to immigration policy will in all likelihood affect these students, many—if not all—of whom currently benefit from President Obama’s executive order: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).”
Monday afternoon, Harvard students, staff and faculty stood in front of Widener Library as undocumented students shared their stories and read the petition out loud before delivering it to the administration. One student captured in video said there were at least 40 undocumented students at Harvard and that the issue affects “so many people, so deeply.”

Dr. Loc Truong, director of diversity and inclusion at Harvard, said in an email to The Boston Globe that the university’s offices will work to help undocumented students.

“We know this is a time of uncertainty and we will partner with undocumented students and all students during this uncertain time, as we share the same goalto enable students to thrive here at Harvard College,” he said in an email.

 

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