university of delaware
Petition to University of Delaware, President Dennis Assanis
No Blue Hen Is Illegal
In light of recent executive orders that have put millions of undocumented immigrants at risk, and in light of the recent spike in hate speech and crimes on college campuses targeting immigrants, it is clearly imperative that the University of Delaware meaningfully address the specific challenges faced by, undocumented/DACA students and other vulnerable immigrant students. Thus, we students, faculty, staff, retirees, community members, and alumni urge you to review this petition and provide a public written response that specifically addresses each of the ten requests enumerated below. Here are our ten requests: 1. Hire an Undocumented Student Coordinator to advocate for, advise, represent, and protect undocumented/DACA students. The University of Maryland has recently announced the establishment of such a position, and the University of Delaware would do well to follow UM’s example so that someone with expertise can, on an ongoing basis, work within the University of Delaware administration to help provide security and equal educational opportunities for undocumented/DACA students. Undocumented/DACA students at UD often don’t know who to turn to, and an Undocumented Student Coordinator would solve that problem. 2. Establish and encourage local police policies that will ensure that: (a) all immigrant members of the community receive the same level of police protection that others receive, and (b) there exists a formal procedure for working with Undocumented/DACA students when they have been the victims of a crime and are filing a U Nonimmigrant Visa. In order for police to be effective, they need to have the cooperation of members of the community — regardless of immigration status. Where people are fearful of deportation, they are less likely to report crimes and cooperate with police. The New Castle County Police Department works closely with Victim Services to facilitate the U-Visa application process between law enforcement officials and the legal advocates of Undocumented victims of crime, which has created a sense of support within the undocumented communities interacting with law enforcement. Thus, for the sake of the safety of its undocumented/DACA students, the University should formally establish and announce the following policy (or a similar one) for the University of Delaware campus police, and consult with Newark city officials to encourage the establishment of the same policy for the Newark Police Department: All community members are encouraged to seek and obtain police assistance and protection, regardless of their specific immigration and/or documentation status. The enforcement of the nation’s civil immigration laws are the primary responsibility of the federal government and the University of Delaware Campus Police/Newark Police Department does not undertake immigration-related investigations and does not inquire into the specific immigration status of any person encountered during police operations.add citation 3. Provide sensitivity/diversity training to faculty and staff pertaining to undocumented/DACA students. Currently, diversity training at the University of Delaware does not specifically address the unique circumstances of undocumented/DACA students. Often, staff and faculty do not even know what being a DACA student means, which hinders the extent to which students can communicate with their professors about their needs in class. 4. Ensure that undocumented/DACA students have the same opportunities for admission and financial aid that other students have and that their access to academic programs within the University is not unreasonably limited by their citizenship status. The University should formally establish admission and financial aid policies that do not discriminate against undocumented/DACA students, and commit to ensuring that any financial awards given to such students are not withdrawn (e.g. by continuing to provide in-state resident tuition to DACA students who have qualified previously even if their DACA status is cancelled). The University should seek to provide greater equality for undocumented/DACA students by effectively communicating and establishing procedures to help them apply for, and understand the process of applying for, financial aid. This is necessary due to the difficulties and unique barriers undocumented/DACA students currently face when they seek financial aid. (For example, the policy requiring students to show proof of rejection is flawed and should be eliminated.) Certain academic programs and majors require the completion of internships or research, however, many of these programs ask for citizenship in order to apply. A thorough review of such policies is needed in order to determine what citizenship requirements are fundamental and which are unfounded and able to be amended. 5. Ensure an adequate process exists for directing undocumented/DACA students to on campus emergency housing, and allowing them to remain within campus boundaries, during situations of heightened threats of immigration enforcement. This includes providing undocumented/DACA students with the opportunity to use interim housing options in case of a heightened threat or potentially hostile situation. 6. Establish transparent campus-wide policies that define how the University would respond should U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) request information or assistance from the University, or should ICE officers appear at the University. 7. Provide culturally competent psychological counseling services for undocumented/DACA students and communicate the availability of such services to students. Fund a cluster diversity hire of counselors that can meet the needs of undocumented students, immigrant students, students of color, and LGBTQ identified students. 8. Reaffirm the University’s commitment to create a campus atmosphere of respect by denouncing hate speech, violence, or threats of violence directed at immigrant, ethnic minority, and LGBTQ students, and by informing the campus of existing resources for reporting and responding to identity-based hate incidents. 9. Give undocumented/DACA students the ability to opt out of attending the International Student Orientation and the choice to attend the orientation for domestic students instead. 10. Establish transparent policies that ensure that the University would provide help, such as legal services or emergency funds, should an immigrant student face detention or deportation proceedings. ************** In alignment with University of Delaware’s Statement of Responsibility to “respect every human being,” we the undersigned students, faculty, staff and alumni of the University of Delaware call upon you, President Assanis, and the University of Delaware, to fulfill these ten requests. We do so as an expression of our commitment to ensuring the safety, health and well-being of undocumented/DACA students and their families. By moving to serve the immediate and long-term needs of our undocumented and DACA community members, we can foster a welcoming community for all of its members, regardless of religion, race, gender, sexuality, ability, or immigration status, and in accordance with the University of Delaware’s mission.
Petition to Patrick Harker, Nancy Brickhouse, Mark Rieger
Patrick Harker, Nancy Brickhouse, Mark Rieger: Create an educational, sustainable, and student-operated garden program
Our objective is to gather signatures for our proposed "Gardens for Growth" program at the University of Delaware. This petition is the first step of the program and is a demonstration of support to the University of Delaware administration. We propose the creation of an educational, organic, sustainable, and student-operated garden program for the campus of the University of Delaware. We envision multiple gardens run by students working for independent credit, volunteer service hours, and by individual plot owners or student groups. Operations will be overseen by a faculty mentor and/or staff to ensure that the gardens are successful and comply with the standards of the University's aesthetic codes and peer programs. Eventually we hope the University of Delaware’s “Gardens for Growth” program will be incorporated into a new “Permaculture Program” curriculum within the school of agriculture, which will address educational topics in organic agriculture and horticulture, urban farming, and food security. The cultivation and implementation of this program is a true step towards meeting the University of Delaware's goal to become “The Green University.” The “Gardens for Growth” program fits with the core of the University of Delaware's Path to Prominence, not only in addressing modern, popular topics such as organic horticulture, biosphere diversity, permaculture, and urban farming, but also by integrating more environmental programs within the curriculum. Student gardens fit in snugly with the existing Initiative for the Planet. Our focus for locations is near heavy pedestrian traffic. With high visibility, the gardens will be a good demonstration of the University of Delaware's own initiative in the areas of sustainability and ecologically green practices. We suggest for the first year, pilot gardens to demonstrate the viability of the plan, and inform us more fully about issues of cost and implementation. In succeeding years we aim to create new gardens in locations of increasing prominence and value, and cultivate more related programs. Core values of the programs: - Gardens for educational demonstrations. - A garden for all UD community members, undergrad/grad students, faculty, and staff. - Plots set up using modern organic techniques in irrigation, fertilization, composting, and pest management for a good harvest. - A garden to grow food for consumption by the student-community body. - A focus on the improvement of soil quality and the stability of ecological relationships over time. - Expectations of harvest weight will be based on projections and analyses which will become further refined over time. - Gardens will be a provision of space enabling students and faculty to learn about and experiment with different ideas and techniques which fall under the umbrella of organic agriculture, such as permaculture and biodynamics. - Issues of cost and funding may be addressed with a focus on diversity of cost saving and fund-raising methods. - Growing goals shall be determined each season through a joint collaboration between the student leadership and their faculty mentor.