San Diego Mesa College President Dr. Pamela Luster will visit Sacramento today to discuss the importance of addressing community college students’ basic needs such as food and housing insecurities and homelessness.
September 5, 2017
Dear DACA Students, All Students, Colleagues, and Friends:
The San Diego Community College District is deeply committed to the inclusion of all people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, heritage, national origin, immigration status, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, medical condition, or disability. We believe that America is a great and compassionate country and that our students and employees should be fully supported in that context.
One program in particular epitomizes our values of access and success for all students. This very special program, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), has provided support to young people who were brought to this country as children, not under their own volition. It was established via executive order by the previous presidential administration to provide a fair and practical way for these young people to be treated. Most of these young people have only known the United States of America as their home and they have prospered in the many endeavors they have pursued in our great educational systems, including schools, community colleges, and universities. In our District, City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges, and Continuing Education enroll DACA students and are proud of them.
This morning, the President of the United States ordered the elimination of the DACA program, announcing that the administration will “initiate a wind down process,” thereby creating “a time period for Congress to act – should it so choose.” We have heard that this will be a period of six months, but we need to confirm that, as well as the process Congress will follow. We will do whatever we can to restore this important program. Up-to-date information will be posted for students and employees, as we receive it, at sdccd.edu.
DACA students are called “Dreamers” in view of their relationship to the DREAM Act,
proposed legislation that would codify the provisions of the executive order that
established DACA. These Dreamers are among the best students in the District and they
have bright futures ahead of them. We want our DACA students, the Dreamers, to know
that the SDCCD will do everything in its power to help them during this difficult
time. Here are some of the things that DACA students can look forward to:
• We will schedule legal workshops at the campuses as soon as possible so that DACA students can learn about their rights and seek legal protection.
• We will use the “wind down” period toward the effective start of the elimination process to advocate strongly to the members of Congress to pass the DREAM Act and put in place a replacement program for DACA, with as many of the same provisions as possible. We will begin our advocacy immediately.
• We will encourage our local legislators and community leaders to lend their support to this effort as well.
We want all students and our community to know that the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, the College and Continuing Education Presidents, and faculty and staff of the San Diego Community College District stand behind the overall policies and procedures we have adopted for all of our students during these difficult times. Let me refresh our memory of what we stand to do:
We remind everyone that the Constitution applies to everyone within the United States, no matter their citizenship or visa status. Certain rights, like the right to remain silent and not answer questions asked by police or immigration authorities, apply to everyone.
As a public institution of higher education, we work diligently to ensure that all students have full access to our institutions and are protected from pressures and intrusive actions that would disrupt or impair their education. The District complies with all Federal and State laws governing the privacy of student records including the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), as well as AB 540 and the California DREAM Act which exempt undocumented and out-of-state students who completed high school in California from non-resident tuition. For more information about the California DREAM Act, visit: dream.csac.ca.gov.
As part of our compliance with Federal and State laws and regulations, we want you
to know that the District:
• Will not allow federal immigration officials on campus absent legal authority;
• Will not act on behalf of federal agencies to enforce immigration laws or aid in deportation;
• Does not share student records containing confidential information without written consent; a court order or other legal mandate; and
• Our college police will not participate in any voluntary program of immigration enforcement.
We remain deeply committed to all of our students and will do everything we can to ensure their success and safety. This is a troubling period in our history and we will do everything in our power to win back the values and ideals that made our country a beacon of hope and opportunity for the entire world.
Constance M. Carroll, Ph.D., Chancellor, San Diego Community College District
Ricky Shabazz, Ed.D., President, San Diego City College
Pam Luster, Ed.D., President, San Diego Mesa College
Patricia Hsieh, Ed.D., President, San Diego Miramar College
Carlos O. Turner Cortez, Ph.D., President San Diego Continuing Education
Mesa College Resources for Students, Faculty and Staff
(Updated Aug. 2017)
International Students: Students from the affected countries who are attending Mesa on a student visa are encouraged to contact the International Student Admissions Office at 619-388-2717 where they can receive additional support and guidance. www.sdmesa.edu/student-services/international-students/index.shtml
Student Health Services offers a wide range of services including psychological counseling, to support students with a variety of concerns. Crisis counseling is available in the Health Center I4-209 from 8-6 Mon-Thurs, and 8-3 on Friday. Students may either drop-in or make an appointment to be seen by a Therapist. www.sdmesa.edu/student-services/health-services
Student Clubs and Organizations provide a rich and exciting multi-cultural dimension to college life at Mesa. Faculty and classified staff advisors serve on a voluntary basis and are approved by the College President each semester. www.sdmesa.edu/campus-life/get-involved/student-clubs
The Office of Professional Development: Professional learning enables campus employees to develop the knowledge and skills to assist themselves and students to be successful in college and address students’ learning challenges. Call 619-388-5019 www.sdmesa.edu/about-mesa/professional-development
District Employee Benefits Office: The San Diego Community College District Benefits Office provides faculty, staff, administrators, retirees and COBRA participants with support on the District's health, welfare, and retirement benefits plans by providing one-on-one counseling and assistance over the phone, in person, and via email, and maintaining an effective benefits communication program. 619-388-6587 or http://hr.sdccd.edu/benefits/beneindex.cfm
Jennifer Nichols Kearns
Director of Communications