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Saturday, Sep 23, 2017

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President Nellis

President M. Duane Nellis

Photo courtesy of: University Communications and Marketing

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University community gathers for support, resources in wake of DACA announcement


Ohio University students, faculty and staff gathered on Wednesday during an open house to discuss concerns, share resources and provide support in the wake of the U.S. Justice Department’s announcement of sweeping changes to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

Shortly after Tuesday’s announcement, President M. Duane Nellis released a statement calling for the DACA program to be upheld and reaffirming OHIO’s commitment to inclusion, noting that “DACA has made it possible for all students to pursue an education and explore meaningful ways to contribute to our communities and economy.”

Read President Nellis’ full statement here. On Wednesday, President Nellis met with Ohio’s congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., to urge lawmakers to take immediate steps to protect the Dreamers – the nearly 800,000 children granted approval and protected under DACA since the program began in 2012.

During the open house on Wednesday, participants were encouraged to share their feedback and suggestions to University leadership in attendance, including Vice President for Student Affairs and Interim Chief Diversity Officer Jason Pina and Vice Provost for Global Affairs and International Studies Lorna Jean Edmonds. College deans, faculty, administrators and student leaders were also among those who engaged in constructive conversation surrounding the ways in which Ohio University can provide support and foster a sense of safety and inclusion for all members of its community.

The discussion was facilitated by Interim Executive Vice President and Provost David Descutner, who encouraged those in attendance to have an open discussion, noting that there was no formal agenda for the open house.

OHIO administrators responded to questions regarding resources available to students, how to share information with other community members and how the University is developing contingency plans to ensure that all students – regardless of immigration status – are able to complete their degrees.

Pina noted that the Department of Housing and Residence Life would work with staff, resident directors and the nearly 300 resident assistants on OHIO’s Athens Campus to equip them with the knowledge to answer questions and point students to resources on campus. Edmonds said she would work with her staff in the Office of Global Affairs and International Studies to continuously update and fact check the Executive Orders website, which provides accurate, up-to-date information to OHIO students regarding federal immigration policy, executive orders and resources for members of OHIO’s global community.

Resources

The most up-to-date information about Executive Orders, including the recent DACA program announcement and related information, is available on the Resources page of Global Affairs and International Studies website.

Members of the OHIO community with questions regarding immigration policy can visit the International Student and Faculty Services office, located in Walter International Education Center (15 Park Place) on the Athens Campus. The office is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and can be reached by calling 740-593-4330 or emailing isfs@ohio.edu.

In addition, those with concerns or who are in need of guidance in navigating the University’s resources can contact the Office of the Ombudsperson (501 Baker University Center) at 740-593-2627. The ombudsperson can ask questions on behalf of any student, faculty or staff member and contact is completely confidential.

Ken Robinson, an immigration attorney based in Columbus, Ohio, who has worked with Ohio University students in the past, will visit the Athens Campus on Wednesday, Sept. 27, from noon to 1 p.m. to speak with students and answer questions. Additional information, including a location for the session, will be released soon.

Those seeking the most up-to-date information should continue to visit the Office of Global Affairs and International Studies website at www.ohio.edu/global.