Monday, 15 July 2024

California Community Colleges marks fifth annual Undocumented Student Action Week

The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office announced this week it will hold the fifth annual Undocumented Student Action Week, or USAW, from Oct. 18 to 22.

Undocumented Student Action Week is a statewide effort that engages and activates students, faculty and staff to support the needs of the more than 72,000 undocumented students enrolled at California Community Colleges.

This year’s theme, “Change in Action,” empowers students, faculty and staff to engage in state, federal and local action to support undocumented students in their goal of earning a college education.

The “Change in Action” theme reflects the ongoing need to scale evidenced-based student-centered policies and practices every day of the year.

The July 16, 2021, court ruling in the State of Texas, et al., v. United States, which held that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, Program is unlawful, also creates an additional layer of uncertainty for undocumented students across the country.

The week-long event will be held during the same month as the 20th anniversary of the passage of Assembly Bill 540, the landmark legislation that opened the doors of higher education for thousands of undocumented students by removing the burden of out-of-state tuition.

To commemorate the anniversary, Immigrants Rising will host “20 Year Anniversary AB 540 Conference and Beyond” on Oct. 18 starting at 10 a.m.

At 1 p.m., the Chancellor’s Office will lead a plenary with higher education segment leaders to celebrate the success of AB 540 and discuss opportunities to address remaining challenges.

“As the nation’s largest post-secondary education system serving the largest number of undocumented students within the state, California Community Colleges are committed to serving all students, regardless of immigration status,” said California Community Colleges Acting Chancellor Daisy Gonzales, PhD. “Undocumented students enrolled at our colleges are aspiring teachers, doctors, artists and entrepreneurs and are poised to make significant contributions to help our nation recover from the pandemic. To be successful in their quest for a college education and career, students need and deserve stability.”

The Chancellor’s Office is calling on students, faculty and staff at all 116 colleges across California to advocate for Congress to include a comprehensive pathway to citizenship for undocumented students and make them eligible for federally funded financial aid within budget reconciliation. The Chancellor’s Office is also calling on institutional leaders, college staff, and UndocuLiaisons to further cultivate their policies and practices to create change that is student-focused and equity centered.

In the last five years, the collective budget and legislative advocacy of the California Community Colleges during USAW has led to funding for Dream Resource Centers and UndocuLiaisons, the establishment of an Immigration Legal Services Project, the expansion of AB 540 eligibility and the protection of DACA.

The 2021 USAW will build on these investments by empowering colleges to seek institutional reforms that will lead to more welcoming campus environments for all students, regardless of their immigration status.

The Chancellor’s Office will hold daily webinars at 1 p.m. during USAW on several critical topics, including a review of state undocumented student policies, the importance of program evaluation to measure undocumented student success, and innovative use of funds to support undocumented student efforts. Webinars will feature student speakers and campuses leading the way.

For more information, including a full schedule of events, visit Undocumented Student Action Week webpage.

Also available in our website the California Community College's Resolution Declaring October 18 to 22 as Undocumented Student Action Week.

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 116 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year.

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