Students with immigrant status make up only a small percent of the population at Lake Tahoe Community College, but these students are still incredibly important to the success of the school because they are community members, many of whom have gone through the K-12 South Lake Tahoe school system. “These students benefit not only our school, but the entire community,” Jeff DeFranco, superintendent and president of LTCC, said.
Unfortunately, recent executive orders from Washington — see: building of a border wall and conversation around the DREAM Act (among other things) — have brought concern to California’s community college students and administrators.
“Few groups face more uncertain fate under President Trump than the Dreamers, the 750,000 immigrants granted work permits and temporary residency since 2012 under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program,” a January article in Fortune stated.
Not-so-feel-goody, we know, but give it a minute.
The concern about the well being of their students has caused colleges across California to implement steps to protect them. LTCC unanimously passed a resolution on Feb. 14 in support of their DREAMer students. The Statement of Diversity, as they are calling it, was published in the wake of White House changes to immigration policy, DeFranco said.
The statement declares that the “LTCC board stands firm in its resolution to protect student privacy. This means they will not release any student information regarding immigration status without a warrant or subpoena.”
“Public education is the great equalizer,” DeFranco said. “As educators, it’s our civic duty to make educational opportunities available to everyone. This doesn’t just help individual students; it provides an avenue for growth and progress for our entire country.”
DeFranco describes their Dreamer students as “the peers of graduates of LTCC,” adding, “We want to make sure to have a wide open door for these new students to matriculate through — we want to provide the opportunity for people to improve themselves.”
In an effort to educate the school’s community, LTCC plans to host a joint event with the South Lake Tahoe Family Resource Center (an organization that focuses on disadvantaged groups in the community). “The idea is to present factual information and make legal advice available to anyone in our community who is confused or fearful about immigration changes being made by the White House.” Diane Lewis, the school’s director of Marketing and Communications, said.
The event is still in the planning stages.