UIC backs ‘Day of Action’ on immigration reform

A crowd of UIC students on campusTo support student opportunity, social justice, and U.S. innovation and competitiveness, top campus officials of the University of Illinois at Chicago joined other college and university presidents today in calling for an April 19th “Day of Action” on immigration reform.

The UIC Statement on Immigration, signed by UIC Chancellor Paula Allen-Meares and Provost Lon S. Kaufman, notes that UIC, one of the most diverse universities in the U.S., has been “enriched by the diverse experiences of our faculty, staff and students, both U.S. born and immigrant. We view diversity not only as a commitment, but as a strength, and we feel our nation would do well to do the same, as it has traditionally.”

The statement says that as academically qualified young people in in the U.S. are denied access to higher education, “we deprive our nation of the talent it needs.”

UIC ranks first in the Midwest in the number of bachelor degrees earned by Latino students and has been designated an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education.

The campus works to “ensure a welcoming and sustaining climate” for all of its students, says Mrinalini Rao, professor of physiology and biophysics and interim special assistant to the provost for diversity.

“We guide prospective students through the college application process and to permitted sources of funding for their education,” Rao said. “UIC has many ongoing initiatives on behalf of students, ranging from events across campus to collaboration with community partners and engagement with the City of Chicago and its schools and community colleges.”

The April 19 campus statement also announces the formation of a new task force to work for changes in federal immigration policy. The task force brings faculty, staff and students from UIC together with immigrant advocates from Chicago’s Latino, Asian American and East European communities to work for legislative reform that will enable undocumented students in Illinois to receive types of financial aid that are currently unavailable to them.

The Illinois DREAM Act, signed by Gov. Pat Quinn in 2011, enables students of any legal status who graduate from an Illinois high school to apply to state universities and, if accepted, to pay in-state tuition. However, federal law prohibits undocumented students from receiving financial support that is not mandated by state law, which excludes many sources of tuition relief.

UIC Statement on Immigration

UIC ranks among the nation’s leading research universities and is Chicago’s largest university with 27,500 students, 12,000 faculty and staff, 15 colleges and the state’s major public medical center. A hallmark of the campus is the Great Cities Commitment, through which UIC faculty, students and staff engage with community, corporate, foundation and government partners in hundreds of programs to improve the quality of life in metropolitan areas around the world.

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