Message from the President
April 19, 2017
Dear LMU Community:
In previous messages to our community, I confirmed our continuing commitment to the dignity and divine image of all persons, without distinction based upon nationality or documentation status. I am proud of the progress we have made, are making, and will make as we form students who seek to find God in all things and in all persons; who identify with those living on the margins of society; who grow in a personal sense of faith that does justice; and who become women and men for and with others, undertaking meaningful work for transformative social change.
LMU stands unequivocally in support of all our students. As we continue to assess the impacts of governmental actions and seek to safeguard our community members, I update you with our progress and highlight initiatives that reinforce our longstanding values:
- Last semester, we created the Undocumented Student Advisory Committee, chaired by Dean of Students Jeanne Ortiz, which actively coordinates and develops resources for undocumented students, disseminates information to undocumented students, and ensures that our support services are accessible.
- We signed onto letters with the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (whose communication I helped draft), the American Council on Education, and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, pledging, among other public positions we announced, “to protect to the fullest extent of the law undocumented students on our campuses” and “to promote retention of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program.”
- We have reinforced our Social Justice Scholarships program to ensure an LMU education remains accessible, regardless of DACAmentation status.
- We have expanded our inclusive excellence website to include information about our undocumented student initiatives and related resources.
- Student Psychological Services has enhanced its services through specialized training to support the unique challenges facing our undocumented students and by appointing a therapist for the 2017-18 academic year with experience working with first-generation and undocumented students.
- Our Loyola Law School Immigrant Justice Clinic continues to offer legal consultations for our students.
- We have strengthened our partnerships with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the dioceses of Orange and San Bernardino, and Catholic K-12 educators so that they may more effectively counsel and support undocumented students and their families.
- Immigration Awareness Week organizers teamed up with our First To Go program and explored the intersectional, multifaceted identities of our first-generation and immigrant students. The event series engaged our community in critical dialogue, informational workshops, expressive performances, and was a celebration of our solidarity.
I applaud our community members who have spoken out in support of our undocumented students — especially our sponsoring religious orders — for their guidance and inspiration; the Faculty Senate and our faculty and their continuing leadership in teaching and in scholarship; and ASLMU, GSLMU, The Loyolan, Student Leadership and Development, Chicano Latino Student Services and registered student organizations MEChA and Resilience, who provide passionate advocacy.
While the federal government seems not to be targeting DACA students at this time, we must remain vigilant as the freedoms of our international and undocumented students remain uncertain. We do not know what changes the future may bring, but we do know that our Catholic, Jesuit, and Marymount identity offers a solid foundation from which we can confront any adversity or challenge to our mission of inclusive educational excellence.
Accordingly, I affirm LMU’s enduring commitments:
- We do not and will not tolerate unwelcome or harassing conduct based on nationality, religion, citizenship or documentation status.
- We will protect the rights of our international and undocumented students to the fullest extent of the law, including the privacy of their information and records, and their ability to attend LMU without regard to immigration status.
- We will offer our international and undocumented students the support of our campus ministries, our Student Affairs offices, our student health and counseling services, our Office for International Students and Scholars, the legal resources available through our Law School, and other services at our disposal. We will strengthen partnerships with Church and nonprofit organizations that have complementary missions and resources.
- We will continue to advocate publicly for every LMU student, including our international and undocumented students, and in particular, for retention of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, which enriches the diversity of experiences and insights shared by students in our classrooms and our campus life, while also enriching the prospects for the economic health of the United States.
- We will actively promote research and intellectual engagement with questions of law, policy, and justice related to international migration.
- LMU has been, is, and will remain an inclusive environment in which all persons are welcome and in which all ideas are engaged with civility and zeal for open dialogue.
Cura personalis goes to the heart of who we are as human beings. We care for all of our students and community members as they are, individually and collectively, with Christ’s unconditional and abiding love as our example.
With sincere appreciation and thanks,
Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D.