For the third monthly Bloomington Faculty Council meeting in a row UndocuHoosier Alliance made its presence known.
About 20 supporters silently lined the back of President’s Hall and held signs in support of the alliance’s mission to make IU a sanctuary campus — a place protecting undocumented students from deportation.
Holding signs that said, “MAKE IU SAFE AGAIN,” “Education Not Deportation” and “Make America Educated, Immigrants are Already Great,” supporters expressed concern about the rhetoric of President-elect Donald Trump. UndocuHoosier Alliance supporters expressed fears of the effect unknown policies implemented after Trump’s inauguration might have on students attending IU with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status.
DACA protects undocumented children brought to the United States in renewable two-year periods.
Anni Liu, a DACA graduate student, briefly shared her story with the BFC. Liu expressed the importance of providing information and resources to undocumented students at IU.
“It will help destigmatize undocumented people,” Liu said. “It will encourage people to come out of the shadows, ask for help and create a community.”
As a student-teacher and frequent communicator with other undocumented students, she expressed concerns for graduate students who may feel uncomfortable sharing their undocumented status when applying for student-teaching positions given the current political climate. While Provost Lauren Robel said the University does not require IU students to identify themselves, Liu noted concerns associated with graduate students who are federally required to provide right-to-work identification upon applying for positions as student-teachers.
“For DACA students, those are our DACA papers,” Liu said. “So for anyone at that level who would be teaching or employed by the University there is someone in the University who knows.”
Robel acknowledged these concerns and thanked UndocuHoosier Alliance for acting as a conduit between the administration and undocumented students who may feel uncomfortable sharing their stories.
“The difficulty that our students are presenting here today is a real one,” Robel said. “It is a very, very uncertain time for our undocumented students.”
In this first of multiple attempts to speak at BFC’s monthly meetings, UndocuHoosier Alliance representatives were scheduled for 10 minutes to make their case for why a proposed BFC resolution should be passed to protect undocumented students if the Trump administration follows through on promises to revoke DACA.
Given the last 15 minutes of Tuesday night’s meeting, UndocuHoosier Alliance outlined a tiered list of propositions. One proposed funding a new graduate assistant within the Office of International Student Services to specialize in undocumented student support. Another requested to increase the number of undocumented students recruited at IU through a joint La Casa Latino Cultural Center-Office of International Student Services program.
In his address to BFC UndocuHoosier Alliance leader Willy Palomo made clear the alliance’s proposed resolution was to be seen as a starting point for further conversation.
“We would love it if the BFC could support all of these resolutions, but we understand that there might be hesitancy on the part of some faculty members that would like to engage in conversation around now about the resolutions and which ones we can support right now,” Palomo said.
No resolutions were passed in Tuesday night’s meeting, which led to some disappointment among the UndocuHoosier Alliance.
“Ideally we would have wanted something more definite,” Liu said.
Members of UndocuHoosier Alliance took part in a similar silent rally at last month’s BFC meeting without being given the opportunity to state their platform.
UndocuHoosier Alliance previously met with Robel after submitting its proposal to President Michael McRobbie in November.
Cut off by the BFC’s scheduled end time, the council unanimously agreed to resume conversation with UndocuHoosier Alliance at the next BFC Executive Council meeting Jan. 31.
“Most of the faculty members here are in support of undocumented students,” Palomo said.
Palomo will continue to work toward smaller resource-based projects leading up to the Jan. 31 meeting.
Until then, members of the UndocuHoosier Alliance will be faced with making sense of what is expected to be a drastically different president administration taking office for the next four years.
“Friday kind of looms large for those of us with DACA,” said Liu, speaking to the council. “We’re concerned with how and if we are going to be able to work and continue our education.”