SAN DIEGO (CBS8) - The San Diego Community College District issued a statement to its campuses amid concerns about undocumented immigrant students following the recent election, reaffirming their commitment to inclusion and supporting its diverse students.
Students at Mesa College, the city's largest community college, have expressed fears of deportation.
"There's been countless, endless media coverage on a number of pretty scary policies that many of our students are afraid of," said Lynn Neault, Vice Chancellor, San Diego Community College District.
The district sent a letter on Nov. 10 stating, "following Tuesday's national election, students have been contacting us to express their concerns, uncertainty, and anxiety regarding the policies supporting their education. Given the divisive political climate and the intense media speculation about what lies ahead, these concerns are understandable. It will take some time before all the details of the nation's leadership transition are determined."
"It's disheartening because you shouldn't feel that way as a student, especially when you're trying to further your education," said Khaliah Okuboye, a Mesa College student.
On 60 Minutes, president-elect Donald Trump said he would immediately deport 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants, primarily those with criminal records.
"We are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate. But we're getting them out of our country, they're here illegally," said Trump.
The district's letter details that under California law, undocumented students are protected to attend and receive state aid.
"It gives them a little bit of comfort that they're safe here," said Jay Labaco, a Mesa College student.
Here is the letter in full issued by the San Diego Community College District:
Following Tuesday's national election, students have been contacting us to express their concerns, uncertainty, and anxiety regarding the policies supporting their education. Given the divisive political climate and the intense media speculation about what lies ahead, these concerns are understandable. It will take some time before all the details of the nation's leadership transition are determined.
In the meantime, we want you to know that City, Mesa, and Miramar Colleges, Continuing Education, and the entire San Diego Community College District remain committed to our mission of inclusion and support for the great diversity of our student population. As public institutions of higher education, we will continue our work to ensure that all students have full access to our institutions, as well as to the support needed for you to succeed in your studies.
The San Diego Community College District is also deeply committed to protecting the rights of our undocumented students to attend our institutions and receive state aid under the provisions of AB 540, enacted in 2001, and the California Dream Act, signed into law in 2011. These laws allow undocumented students to be exempt from non-resident tuition, and receive private scholarships and state financial aid, including community college fee waivers (BOGW), and Cal Grants. Click on this link for more information: http://www.csac.ca.gov/pubs/forms/grnt_frm/cal_grant_dream_act_faqs.pdf
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and our entire leadership and governance team of faculty, administrators, and staff, we want to assure you that we will do our best to support you in the coming months and years. We are proud to serve you as our students and we will do everything in our power to ensure your success.
Constance M. Carroll, Ph.D., Chancellor, San Diego Community College District
Denise S. Whisenhunt, J.D., Interim President, San Diego City College
Pamela T. Luster, Ed.D., President, San Diego Mesa College
Patricia Hsieh, Ed.D., President, San Diego Miramar College
Carlos O. Turner Cortez, Ph.D. President, San Diego Continuing Education
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