GROSSMONT-CUYAMACA COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOARD TO VOTE FEB. 21 ON PROTECTING IMMIGRANT STUDENTS

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East County News Service

January 31, 2017 (El Cajon) -- The Chancellor and leaders at Grossmont-Community College District have sent a letter to students in the wake of  President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders regarding immigration, border security, and a travel ban on people from seven nations, as well as his threat to establish a Muslim registry.  The letter affirms that the district’s governing board will vote February 21 on whether to adopt the following policies:

  • Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges are open to all students who meet the minimum requirement for admission, regardless of background, culture, religion, or immigration status. 
  • The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District will not release any personally identifiable student information, including data related to immigration status, without a judicial warrant or court order unless authorized by the student or required by law.
  • The District will not cooperate with any federal effort to create a registry of individuals based on any protected characteristics such as religion, national origin, race, or sexual orientation.
  • The District stands proudly for the heritage of American community colleges as hallmarks of a diverse, engaged, and healthy democracy.

Below is the letter in full:

Welcome to the spring term at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District (GCCCD)!

Students are our highest priority at Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges, and we strive to provide a campus environment where all students feel supported and safe. Above all, we want you to be successful in pursuing your best and highest dreams.

We are troubled by how many of our students and their families are experiencing fear and anxiety about proposals and executive actions regarding U.S. immigration policies by the new presidential administration that affect immigrants and refugees, as well as  children of undocumented immigrants  who have been able to pursue higher education in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. We also know that many individuals of diverse ethnic, cultural, and religious backgrounds have growing concerns about their safety and future in the face of the deep social and cultural divisions that the recent election revealed.

Let us assure you that GCCCD's Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, and staff are committed to providing exceptional learning opportunities for everyone in our diverse community. At Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges, we hold passionately to our belief that all students - regardless of background, race, ethnicity, heritage, national origin, immigration status, religion, age, gender, gender identity, or ability - should have the opportunity to pursue higher education and reach their fullest potential.

This commitment is shared by the leadership of the California Community College system, as evidenced in Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley's video message, affirming his appeal to the president alongside leaders of the  California State University and University of California system. The state Chancellor's Office offers resources for undocumented students on its website.

Our Governing Board confirms its support for our diverse student body in its Policy 7100:

GCCCD is committed to providing learning and working environments that ensure and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. People of diverse backgrounds, perspectives, socioeconomic levels, cultures, and abilities are valued, welcomed and included in all aspects of our organization. GCCCD strives to provide an educational environment that fosters cultural awareness, mutual understanding, and respect that ultimately also benefits the global community.

At the upcoming February 21st meeting, our Governing Board will take formal action on a resolution that affirms these principles:

  • Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges are open to all students who meet the minimum requirement for admission, regardless of background, culture, religion, or immigration status. 
  • The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District will not release any personally identifiable student information, including data related to immigration status, without a judicial warrant or court order unless authorized by the student or required by law.
  • The District will not cooperate with any federal effort to create a registry of individuals based on any protected characteristics such as religion, national origin, race, or sexual orientation.
  • The District stands proudly for the heritage of American community colleges as hallmarks of a diverse, engaged, and healthy democracy.

Our district and college leadership pledge to do all in our power to educate, protect, and support you. If you have concerns, please reach out to the counseling center and ask to talk to a counselor, who can offer you advice and resources to assist you. At Grossmont College, the Dream Center is a safe space that offers a support system for undocumented students. At Cuyamaca College, the Borderless Spaces Program is designed to assist DACA students.

As the spring semester begins, we send you best wishes for advancing your education goals in our welcoming learning community. Study hard. Build good relationships. Learn well.

Thank you for making the decision to attend Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges!

Cindy L. Miles, Ph.D.              Nabil Abu-Ghazaleh, Ed.D.     Julianna Barnes, Ed.D.

Chancellor                             President                               President

Grossmont-Cuyamaca             Grossmont College                 Cuyamaca College                            

Community College District

Tim Corcoran                         Sue Rearic                              John Valencia

Vice Chancellor                      Vice Chancellor                      Vice Chancellor

Human Resources                   Business Services                     Workforce and 

                                                                                          Organizational Development

Paul Carmona                                                                      Tate Hurvitz

Academic Senate President                                                  Academic Senate President

Cuyamaca College                                                               Grossmont College

Ariane Ahmadian                           Monica Blando                   Yvette Macy

Classified Senate President     Classified Senate President       Classified Senate President

Cuyamaca College                  Grossmont College                    District Services