EC reacts to removal of DACA protections

By Victoria Martin, News Editor

While other colleges directly denounced U.S. President Donald Trump’s rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Elmhurst College (EC) President Troy VanAken responded by sending out an email expressing support to those affected by the policy.

President of Boston College William Leahy stated “the decision to rescind DACA is such a mistake.”

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University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC)’s president wrote, “the elimination of DACA is inconsistent with out commitment to accessible and high-quality education for all qualified and deserving students.”

The American Association of University Professors “denounces in the strongest possible terms the decision by the Trump administration.”

Meanwhile, VanAken wrote “Elmhurst College remains committed to supporting anyone in our community who is affected by the DACA announcement.”

During an interview on the international student program (see story below) at EC, when discussing the DACA, VanAken focused on the issues it brings towards recruitment.

“We couldn’t be trying to do all this at a worse time,” VanAken said. 

“When students have the option to study abroad and they have options like Australia, the UK and Singapore, they are not going to pick or at least be hesitant at picking the United States with the reputation it is continuing to create for itself.” 

In his email, VanAken also discussed his plans to lobby congress.

“The administration has given congress six months… I plan to call and/or write to our representatives in Washington, to ask that they move swiftly and decisively to provide permanent protections to all who are covered by DACA,” VanAken wrote.

Chaplain Scott Matheney called for more organization on campus.

“Nobody can be complicit,” he said, “We have to organize on campus.”

Matheney discussed wanting to help the students by bringing more people on campus to help students prepare for the worst possible scenario.

“For those who are affected directly,” he said, “We need to make sure they get to people like me and to legal help and to a lot of the sources of support here. To make sure they know they have a home here.”

Matheney also discussed possible next steps for the college, like hosting panel discussions and “bringing in lawyers to talk about what the implications of DACA are.”

EC students also expressed the need to show support and advocate for those affected by DACA.

During the Student Government Association (SGA) meeting on Thursday, Sept. 7 (see story on page 4), SGA’s Vice President of Administration Maria Anguiano discussed the importance of letting students know they are supported.

“A student suggested to me holding a rally of some kind, possibly in the Ashtray, and just getting the word out there about the issue and showing [SGA’s] support,” she said. 

Reflecting on having friends who are affected by DACA, EC Junior Daniel Archundia said “it’s important to note that [DACA recipients] are not criminals as Trump wants people to believe. They are people who want an education and to contribute to society.  They do not know anything other than the United States.”