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September 6, 2017

DACA and Southwestern: A Message from the Dean

Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty:

Particularly because we have just welcomed the entering class of 2017 to Southwestern, it seems important that we reflect on our values at a time when some members of our community are feeling particularly vulnerable given the White House Announcement this morning relating to the DACA program. (Dean Duenez has information about this action and Southwestern’s policies and resources.) Many of us share a frustration that the DACA population in particular is now either the target, or more likely, the pawn, when they are perhaps the most sympathetic of immigrant groups---children born elsewhere, but who grew up here in the U.S.

In times like these it is important to rely on Southwestern’s fundamental ethos:

  • Southwestern is committed to supporting, encouraging and protecting all students, staff and faculty, regardless of any individual’s citizenship, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, race or national origin.
  • Southwestern remains committed to the idea that this diversity of background and characteristics, combined with a wide range of student experiences, makes the education that takes place and the lawyers we graduate better and stronger.
  • Southwestern is determined to continue to pursue its mission of providing access to a legal education to all with the intellectual capacity and drive. We have inherited a truly great legacy in this regard, and it is our job to protect and nurture it!
  • Southwestern places a high priority on creating and sustaining a campus community characterized by respect and mutual supportiveness. This has myriad implications, among them the need to work to engender a tolerance for viewpoint diversity. Personal attacks and hostile behavior have no place in a law school. When the behavior targets people by group characteristic, such as immigrants, our community is damaged, and individuals are eroded in their efforts to do their best.

Although we are living in uncertain times, we can count on the certainty that Southwestern will continue to stand by each and every person in our community. And I am confident that many of you will work to help affected individuals and to bring about a consensus resolution of this issue in the Congress.

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