January 4, 2017
To: Members of the University Community
From: Provost Daniel Diermeier
Subject: Update on Supporting International and Undocumented Students, Staff and Scholars
Date: January 4, 2017
In recent weeks, the University has been investigating how best to support our students, staff and scholars who have come from other nations, including those with undocumented immigration status or who qualify for relief under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. I share concerns expressed through a faculty letter sent on Dec. 1, discussions at the Council of the University Senate, and in meetings with faculty and students, about the uncertain future of federal law and protections in this area. The University is committed to ensuring that all members of the campus community can continue to participate fully in University programs and activities, and have access to the University resources and assistance they need to succeed.
To this end, we are working with outside organizations to provide students and employees with information and guidance about their legal rights, and to discuss the landscape with regard to immigration laws. In the coming weeks, information sessions will be hosted on campus to provide legal assistance to undocumented and DACA students and employees.
We recognize that many undocumented and DACA students are experiencing significant financial uncertainty during this time, and we will help to address these concerns. The University will continue to meet 100 percent of the demonstrated financial aid need of all undergraduate students, regardless of immigration status. Additionally, undocumented and DACA undergraduate and graduate students may access emergency funds from the Office of Campus and Student Life for expenses outside the standard educational expenses.
The potential for the current climate around immigration to increase stress and anxiety in our community members is a mental health issue that the University takes seriously. To help address the need among students for mental health services, the Student Counseling Service (SCS) is consulting closely with Chicago-area counseling services with expertise in issues facing immigrant and undocumented populations, working to add more psychological counselors, and to minimize wait times. Please note that individuals in crisis can walk in and be seen immediately at the SCS during regular business hours, and a therapist-on-call is always available on evenings and weekends.
In addition to these steps, President Zimmer has joined more than 550 U.S. college and university presidents from public and private institutions in signing a statement of support for DACA so that our young scholars can continue to participate at the University.
The University has created a website with FAQs and contact information for individuals who have concerns or need help or assistance with undocumented or immigrant status issues: undocumented.uchicago.edu. We will continue to closely monitor any proposed changes to existing policies at the local, state and national levels and are committed to supporting all members of our University community.