Oglethorpe University President Nick Ladany has issued a public comment in response to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s proposed rule, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), published Sept. 28, 2021. DACA is a federal immigration policy to allow undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors to legally remain in the country to study or work.
In his Nov. 29 letter of support, President Ladany wrote: “Here at Oglethorpe, the campus contributions of our undocumented student community can be seen prominently across a range of academic departments, student clubs and organizations, athletic programs, student government positions, civic engagement campaigns, artistic endeavors, and community education efforts. Our campus would be irreparably altered without their involvement in our community.”
Oglethorpe has a long history of welcoming students who are eager to “make a life, make a living, and make a difference,” including immigrants of all statuses. In 2019, Oglethorpe became the first and remains the only university to partner with TheDream.US, a national scholarship program that provides access to college education for immigrant youth who came to the country at a young age without documentation. Currently, Oglethorpe enrolls more than 100 undocumented scholars through TheDream.US; approximately half are DACA recipients. As a private institution, Oglethorpe is among only a few higher education options for Georgia’s undocumented students.
“Oglethorpe University is proud to stand in support of the proposed DACA rule,” said Dr. Laura Renée Chandler, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion. “DACA recipients are among OU’s most engaged and high-achieving students. Expansion of the program’s access to a broader community of young people will ensure that DACA students continue to participate in our campus community through leadership, service, and enhanced learning. The ‘DACAmented’ community is vital to the future of Oglethorpe and higher education.”
Peter Dye, assistant director of community and global engagement, works directly with students affected.
“While broader immigration reform is very much needed, DACA is a vital program to so many of our students,” said Dye. “If the program can be strengthened and expanded to include more eligible applicants in the future, that will be a huge win for our campus, Georgia, and the country.”