Justice Project hosts campus event
By Candace Thurmond and Peyton Trotter
Monterey Bay Justice Project students, in conjunction with Associated Students and the Otter Cross Cultural Center (OC3) hosted an event April 17 called Land of the Free to discuss issues related to immigration and the status of undocumented students on campus.
It's not often that students from different backgrounds sit-down and discuss some of the various shared issues and experiences as minorities while attending California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). In discussing these issues, students realized the need to do a better job at supporting one another with individual struggles.
The event was intended to be a safe place for all undocumented students, allies and other minority groups to come together and stand in solidarity. While the event had a small turn out the discussions that took place were very insightful.
Officer Heather Murphy, University Police Department (UPD), came to engage in conversation with students.
Before the event began there was an opportunity to speak with Officer Heather Murphy and ask her a couple of questions. The first question being what would happen if the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were to make an appearance on the campus of CSUMB and how would UPD cooperate with them?
“This campus is a public place therefore we cannot prevent ICE from coming to the school. However, UPD will not participate in or honor an immigration hold, if presented with one,” said Murphy.
She also noted that if a student is contacted by ICE they should immediately contact UPD, who will then forward them to Chief Earl Lawson. From there he will help the student contact the CSU General Counsel Jennifer Glad. Glad and the office provide legal services for all CSUs to minimize legal risks on our campus and to assist with the process.
When asked about rights of undocumented students on the campus of CSUMB, Murphy made it clear that: “students are not required to classify whether they are of citizenship status,” meaning that they are afforded the same rights as a documented student.
Murphy also stressed the importance of education and rights awareness to ensure that anyone, regardless of citizenship status knows his or her rights during any encounter with law enforcement.
“You have the right to remain silent, to an attorney, etc.,” said Murphy.
Before opening up the discussion to the general public, Murphy was asked to provide her opinion on whether she believed CSUMB is a safe haven or refuge for minorities including undocumented students. Murphy replied: “I hope that undocumented students feel as safe as everyone else on our campus and they should know that UPD intends to protect everyone regardless of who they are or where they come from.”
After spending some one on one time with Murphy, the discussion section of the forum commenced. Throughout the discussion, students spoke on their experiences and understanding of immigration as it pertains to the Monterey community, specifically CSUMB.
Many resources and outlets were offered by students who struggle with the daily issues of being an undocumented on this campus.
“To be an ally is to host community events, do outreach, provide information, pamphlets, and flyers in different languages…feel support from administrator,” said Amber Ward, a third year Collaborative Health and Human Services major.
For students who are not faced with the struggles of being undocumented, attendees learned what it means to be an active ally and stand in solidarity for the rights of undocumented students. More than anything commentators stressed the importance of education and awareness, along with vocalizing these issues.
“Creating awareness in the classroom is key, especially since events can be hard for people to attend, maybe even implementing specialized curriculum in first year seminar,” said Pamela Martinez, a fourth year student and member of the Monterey Bay Justice Project.
One of the most interesting topics discussed was how to interact with people whose views on immigration and undocumented students are different from your own.
“It starts with a conversation, education and awareness,” said Hayley Hutt, a third year Kinesiology major. “I think this past election has taught me that although my views may differ from some of my peers, it doesn’t mean I should work any less to advocate for the rights of undocumented students and minorities in general.”
Murphy concurred with Hutt and went on to say: “It’s good to hold events and teach people about their rights”
There are a multitude of support services and resources already offered on our campus. One resource is the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP). This program is designed to help students succeed in college, especially in their first year, by navigating through institutional, cultural, social and economic challenges that they may face. CAMP helps student develop these skills by putting on financial aid workshops, implementing a peer mentoring program, giving out scholarships, and even providing workshops for parents to attend as well.
For more information on this program at our school and the events they put on visit their website at https://csumb.edu/camp. If you need to contact CAMP call (831) 582-3460 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another support system is Student Quality Education (SQE) which is a group formed in 2007-2008 to fight for student rights and affordable education. There are currently chapters on 17 of the 23 CSUs, including CSUMB. For more information on what resources SQE offers visit their website at http://csusqe.org/ or email the CSUMB chapter at email@example.com.
The number to contact the University Police Department in the event that someone is contacted by ICE is 831-655-0268.