Taking a stand to protect the rights of every student

As the leaders of the three major educational sectors in Marin, we are proud to serve a diverse array of students, support a diverse community of faculty and staff, and foster an inclusive and safe environment on our campuses.

As educational leaders, we are committed to the dissemination and creation of knowledge. Beyond this, our institutions honor human dignity and believe in the value of every student.

In this capacity, there are certain things that we believe.

We believe education is more than the accumulation of facts; it is the ability to think, communicate, inspire, and understand our world. We believe this opportunity benefits not only the individual student, but also our community, our nation and the world. We believe our diversity is a strength, and our responsibility is to provide opportunity for all students.

And, as educational leaders, there are things we know.

We know education is the single most effective path to personal and social opportunity. We know that students learn best when they are in an environment that provides support, safety and high expectations. We know that students learn from difference — difference of backgrounds, personal experiences, life choices, opinions and political perspectives.

Education is the foundation of our democracy. However, recent national political decisions, including President Donald Trump’s executive order travel ban and the uncertainty surrounding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), are having a negative effect on our campuses, and on our students’ ability to focus on their education.

We hear from students facing fear and racism in the greater community. We know of students concerned about their futures and the possibility of being deported or torn apart from their loved ones. We watch students fighting to defend their faith against stereotypes. We share concern about the detrimental effects of the executive order policy on faculty and students pursuing academic studies and research overseas.

The strengths and contributions of immigrants enrich the educational setting and we want to reassure students, staff, faculty and our greater community that we are unwavering in our commitment to our students.

Last month, the Marin County Office of Education board adopted a resolution that preserves the protections of immigrant families and affirms the right of undocumented children to a public education.

This right also has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case called Plyler v. Doe.

The board believes it is imperative that our schools send the message that we are committed to protecting the right of every student to attend our schools and institutions regardless of the immigration status of a student or of a student’s family members.

Marin Community College District is providing a united front on behalf of students and their families and the community. Specifically, 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.

Confidential student records will not be released without a judicial warrant, subpoena or court order unless authorized by the student or required by law. District police will not detain, question, or arrest any individual solely on the basis of suspected undocumented immigration status.

Dominican University of California has underscored its historic commitment to human rights and human dignity and will use the full resources of the University to protect its faculty, staff and students.

The university has created a Google site providing facts and resources. Facts include information about fundamental rights, the assurance that the university supports all members of the community, and briefings from university legal counsel about the specifics of any change in law or policy. Resources include convenings on campus in association with community partners.

Recently, Dominican hosted a public event with Canal Alliance to discuss the implications of DACA.

Both Dominican and COM are among the more than 600 universities and colleges across the nation that have signed a statement supporting DACA. This statement urges business, civic, religious, and nonprofit sectors to join in protecting the opportunity for those undocumented students who have been raised and educated in the United States to pursue their educational and career goals.

We know we are fortunate to lead educational work in Marin, where we have a strong community and teams of faculty and staff dedicated to the same vision. Together, we are dedicated to creating safe spaces in Marin where that learning can happen.

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