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UndocuHoosiers prevented from speaking at meeting, launch email campaign



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Members of Undocumented Hoosiers were present at the Board of Trustees meeting in Alumi Hall Wednesday evening to silently protest for IU to become a sanctuary campus. Melanie Metzman and Melanie Metzman Buy Photos

The UndocuHoosiers Alliance attended Tuesday’s Bloomington Faculty Council meeting with plans to have an undocumented student speak, share a letter from the Spanish and Portuguese department supporting the sanctuary campus movement and get a resolution passed.

Instead, BFC bylaws and a busy agenda didn’t permit the alliance to speak.

The alliance’s leader, Willy Palomo, said the group remained for the rest of the meeting for a silent rally. 

“We were quite frustrated by it because Provost Robel has known for weeks that faculty and the alliance had been working on a resolution,” Palomo said. “It was an active move to obstruct speaking.”

At the meeting, one faculty member mentioned changing IU’s diversity policy to include the concept of a sanctuary campus, committing to not assisting with deportation. A more detailed resolution may be presented in the future, the faculty member said.

In light of what took place at the meeting, the UndocuHoosier Alliance started a campaign Wednesday to get alliance members and supporters to email Provost Lauren Robel a letter that details their disappointment of not being allowed to speak the meeting and how her actions compromised the “values of diversity and inclusivity so precious to our university community.”

This is not the first time the alliance has tried speak at a BFC meeting. The group also attended a November meeting with hopes of introducing a sanctuary campus resolution.

The alliance has also added to its demands for the IU administration. These additions include training admissions officers on working with undocumented students, adding a graduate assistant for undocumented students in the Office of International Student Services and creating a special recruitment program through the Office of International Student Services and La Casa Latino Cultural Center for undocumented students.

These issues are also included in the resolution the alliance would like to see the BFC pass.

“They are transforming because these are a conversation,” Palomo said. “We do what works best for the 
community.”

In addition to beginning their email campaign, the alliance also issued a response to their meeting with Robel on Nov. 28.

The statement discussed a number of positive takeaways, including promises by Robel to improve the admissions process for undocumented students and connect the alliance to scholarship resources.

But, the group still expressed frustration with Robel’s response to becoming a sanctuary campus. The statement also called out Robel and the administration for what the alliance describes as the University’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on immigration.

“This policy has led to the invisibility of undocumented students, a severe lack of resources, and institutional inaction in the face of tyranny,” the UndocuHoosier’s statement said.

Anni Liu, a graduate student in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, planned to speak at the BFC meeting and issue a message about her experience with DACA. She also planned to read a statement authored by her and other UndocuHoosier members.

“It makes you feel like you are excluded in the general conversation in campus diversity and acceptance of each other,” Liu said. “It seems like there’s a don’t ask, don’t tell policy where this is a burden we shoulder ourselves. This is what undocumented people have to do deal with everywhere.”

Despite lack of support from the IU administration for a sanctuary campus, Liu said she feels the student community is very supportive of the alliance’s work and undocumented students because people are aware that Donald Trump has made promises to remove DACA.

Liu said she is hopeful about the possibility of speaking at the next BFC meeting and gaining the faculty’s support.

“There are people that they know and care about who will be affected and not able to continue school,” 
Liu said.

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