February 7, 2017
President Janet Napolitano
University of California, Office of the President
1111 Franklin Street, 12th Floor
Oakland, CA 94607
Dear President Napolitano,
We applaud your clear denunciation of President Trump’s executive order restricting the ability of individuals from certain countries to re-enter the US as “contrary to the values we hold dear as leaders of the University of California.” We also applaud the reaffirmation of UCOP’s commitment “to support all members of the UC community who are impacted by this executive action.” We see this as a natural and necessary extension of your November 30 statement committing UC to “vigorously protect the privacy and civil rights of the undocumented members of the UC community and will direct its police departments not to undertake joint efforts with any government agencies to enforce federal immigration law.”
We hope that in time our legal system will successfully reveal the un-constitutionality of these measures and either force them to be repealed or greatly mitigate their adverse effects. We are concerned, however, with the immediate or potential financial repercussions of these measures for our faculty and students. This is why we renew our offer to work with you to actively lobby Governor Brown and the State Legislature to extend into the financial realm the protection offered to undocumented DACA students and citizens of the countries singled out by President Trump’s executive order.
As we wrote to you in November we ask you:
• To continue to allow DACA-eligible students to pay in-state resident tuition.
• To ensure students’ access to health care and financial aid within California law
• To extend to all UC campuses the UndocuAlly Program pioneered at UC Davis to enhance the working knowledge of faculty and staff “regarding servicing undocumented student populations.”
• To commit to allow undocumented students to work on UC campuses in the event that the DACA provision were repealed.
In addition, we now urge you to support and protect – both legally and financially – students, staff, researchers, and faculty who may be affected by the Trump Administration’s changing policies on visa approval and admission to the United States. Although the situation is in flux, there is a genuine possibility that international students and researchers will, out of caution, be forced to remain in the United States over the summer or be compelled to change their research agendas. We ask that the University take concrete steps to provide advice and legal aid to these individuals, as well as material support over the summer.
We also believe that the time has come for you, and the UC, to take a leadership role in making California an even more active symbol of the democratic values most Americans share and are fighting to keep alive in the face of the populist involution of our democracy. As you know, CUCFA has recently released its Reclaim report – proposal for a tuition-free public higher education. Our initiative is motivated by the same spirit of defense of the “American dream” as the legal-financial defense of undocumented faculty-students, and the denunciation of a religiously – and politically – motivated ban on immigration. We thus urge you to endorse the Reclaim resolution and work for its implementation not only for its own merits but also as a way to turn the current defensive posture of the democratic front that is opposing President Trumps’ executive orders, into a direct challenge to the populist core of his policies.
The goal of a tuition-free public education represents the future of the American dream far better than any deal with single American companies to keep an industrial plant in the US. It is a goal widely shared not only in California but also across the nation, and it is a goal that points directly to the weakest point of Mr. Trump’s agenda (devoid of any proposal for higher education), choice of education secretary, and business failures as creator of the bankrupt “Trump University.”
We thus hope you will join us in advocating for a tuition-free public education-movement in California first and then across the nation, to help ensure that no one forgets the great value our country derives from the taxpayer support that helps fund our public colleges and universities.
On behalf of the Council of UC Faculty Associations Board,
President, Council of UC Faculty Associations
Professor of Medicine, UCSF