To protect students who may be impacted by immigration policy changes, the Minnesota Student Association at the University of Minnesota passed a resolution Tuesday to advocate for their education.
An MSA forum held on Feb. 6 featured a vote in favor of amending the University’s leave of absence policy and adding a long-distance learning standard in case students are removed due to their immigration status. The new policy imitates the University’s leave policy for active-duty students serving in the military.
Guillermo Pérez, a representative-at-large for MSA and co-author of the resolution, said these efforts are all in response to the revocation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — known as DACA — and the threat of terminating Temporary Protected Status, along with potential federal travel bans.
The amendment provides specific responses to students affected by these policy changes, said Trish Palermo, MSA president and co-author of the resolution.
“[It ensures] that if a student has to miss class due to something immigration-related, they will not be penalized,” Palermo said.
An additional amendment to the excused absence policy mirrors this goal by prohibiting circumstances relating to immigration from affecting their grades, Palermo said.
A long-distance learning service was also proposed by MSA. Extra accommodations from willing professors would let students keep pursuing a degree even if they have to leave campus, Pérez said.
MSA is also asking the University to expand its cancellation policy regarding active-duty students in the military to include students affected by changing immigration policy.
According to the current University ruling, students serving in Reserve or National Guard units who are called to active military duty may withdraw from classes and be refunded for tuition. Pérez said the resolution “... uses specific language geared towards addressing and adopting these same standards as the military.”
MSA talked extensively with University administration to get the resolution to this point and has high hopes for its success, Pérez said.
Upon approval, the resolution will move up to Provost Karen Hanson, said Palermo.