Provoked by the stream of executive orders coming out of President Trump’s White House, a group of USC faculty has sent a letter to the school’s administration asking it to do more to protect foreign students, faculty and staff.
The letter comes on the heels of a full-page advertisement the group took out in The Times last week.
It lists seven recommendations, including proposals to create an emergency fund for students and faculty affected by executive orders on immigration and travel, and to set up a center for immigrant and international students.
One suggestion is to offer summer housing to foreign students and students who are protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, or DACA. Some of these students are worried that in the span of a few summer months, the ever-shifting legal landscape could change again, preventing them from returning to the United States. Others are afraid of being swept up in increasingly aggressive immigration raids.
“It’s not only housing,” said William Tierney, a professor at the Rossier School of Education, who helped put together the proposals. “If our students do go home and through no fault of their own encounter legal problems, we need to ensure their safety.”
Sociology professor Manuel Pastor, who also helped organize the effort, said some USC students have been demanding a symbolic response from faculty. But initially some university researchers were reluctant to take part in a protest that might irritate the president and jeopardize their funding.
“The travel ban shifted a lot of minds,” Pastor said. “Whether or not people support the specific policies, they are concerned about protecting the safety of students.”
USC Provost Michael Quick responded to the group’s letter in a written statement, saying that many of the group’s proposals were “already underway or under consideration.”
“We continue to work on these issues and have taken steps to help our community, including the legal advice clinic at Gould School of Law to provide free consultations, working with USC Housing to provide accommodations for students who may not be able to leave campus over breaks, and we are taking part in amicus briefs alongside our peer institutions, among other things,” Quick wrote.