On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that in six months, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will end. On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota College Professionals Association (MCPA), we remain resolute in our support and advocacy for undocumented students. For many Dreamers, the United States has always been their home. Rescinding DACA puts these undocumented students at great risk for deportation to countries they may not remember and delays their ability to complete their education with our colleges and universities. We also recognize that this news comes at a particularly daunting time, as many of our students are preparing to return or have returned to our campuses and classrooms. This action is in direct opposition to the mission of MCPA.
As a community committed to the education and support of all students, regardless of citizenship and national identity, we will continue to provide updates to our members regarding DACA and future legislation. At this time, it is important to remember that Minnesota also has laws in place to protect undocumented students. In 2013, Governor Dayton signed into law the MN Dream Act. According to the website for the Minnesota Legislature, the actions in Washington will not impact the Dream Act passed here in Minnesota. Here is an information sheet from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education with details about the MN Dream Act.
If you, your students, or someone you know is directly impacted by the elimination of DACA, please know that MCPA is in solidarity with you. As we move into the uncertainty of the future, MCPA remains unwavering in our commitment to safe, empowering, and affirming spaces for our students to live and learn and for staff and faculty to work and teach. Each of us has a responsibility to remain vigilant, support our students and our communities, and to resist the injustices directed at targeted communities. Additionally, we encourage you to ask your College or University President to join the growing list of over 600 college and university presidents across the nation in signing the statement that Pomona College has written, the College & University Presidents Call for U.S. to Uphold and Continue Daca.
The Minnesota College Professionals Association Presidential Team
Antonia Grant, Domingo Coto, and Justin Martin
August 21st, 2017
Dear MCPA Membership,
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota College Professionals Association, we want to acknowledge the hateful rhetoric and actions rooted in white supremacy that occurred over August 12th and 13th in Charlottesville, Virginia. We also acknowledge that this weekend only adds to the overly-long list of demonstrations that are blatantly hateful and harmful.
For our marginalized communities of students (both undergraduate and graduate), staff, and faculty: you are loved and valued. Your feelings are valid. As we navigate into the future, we hope there is some healing and support that is available to each of you. As an organization, MCPA offers every one of you our support.
As an organization committed to inclusion and social justice in higher education and in our nation, targeted crimes of hate and bigotry are in direct opposition to our mission, our work, and our vision of the future. We firmly believe all people deserve the ability to exist and celebrate their authentic selves and identities without fear of harassment or violence.
We recognize August tends to be a busy month for all of us in higher education. We are hopeful each of you are able to take time to care for yourself, your loved ones, and your communities. As the days pass, you might find yourself engaging with people who were and continue to be deeply impacted and affected by the weekend’s events. We also acknowledge the person impacted and affected may be you. We encourage our communities to engage in dialogue and demonstrate love and compassion to their best authentic self.
Sincerely, The Minnesota College Professionals Association Presidential Team Domingo Coto, Toni Grant, & Justin Martin
August 15th, 2017
Dear MCPA Membership,
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota College Professionals Association, we express our deep sadness and sorrow at the recent bombing at the Dar Al Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota. In no uncertain terms, we view this hateful attack against the Muslim Community as cowardly and an affront to the work we do. To those directly impacted by this attack, we are in solidarity with you. As an organization committed to inclusion and social justice in higher education and in our nation, this terrorist attack is directly opposed to our mission, our work, and our vision of the future. We firmly believe all people deserve dignity, respect, and the safety to practice their faith without fear of harassment or assault. As an organization, we celebrate, affirm, and honor the diverse identities and practices on our campuses and in Minnesota.
This direct attack on the Muslim Community of Minnesota should give us all pause and challenge us to consider how we support and reserve space for our students, our colleagues, and our communities. We encourage you to examine acts of hate meant to divide us and decide, instead, to build stronger ties to unite us, regardless of our personal faith or non-faith practices. As the days ahead bring pain alongside the slow process of healing, we reaffirm our commitment to providing safe, empowering, and affirming spaces on our campuses and in our communities for each person to live and learn in safety.
Sincerely, The Minnesota College Professionals Association Presidential Team Antonia Grant, Domingo Coto, and Justin Martin
February 13th 2017
Dear members of MCPA,
On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Minnesota College Professionals Association, we want to reach out in this challenging time of executive action and public outcry. At our core, MCPA values passion, commitment, social justice, and equity. We believe in holistic development, community, and student success as our ultimate goal.
Recent Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda issued by President Donald Trump run counter to our values as an organization and the work that we do to support our students and higher education professionals. These actions include, but are not limited to, orders and memoranda that target refugees, immigrants, and Muslims1; that order the building of a wall between Mexico and the southwestern United States2; that fund pipelines over the objections of Indigenous communities concerned about the risk of water pollution 3; and that defund reproductive and women’s health programs across the world.4 These targeted actions and concerning movements within our democracy challenge each of us to consider how we will respond. As a Board, we stand together in solidarity with people of all identities and backgrounds and rebuke any attempt to harm our students or remove their opportunity to seek an education.
For refugees, immigrants, Muslims, Indigenous people, and other marginalized communities of students and professional staff that we serve: we hear you. We see you. We value you. And most of all, we stand alongside you in creating a society where safety, self-determination, equity, and justice are paramount.
The MCPA Board’s decision to speak on these issues is not about partisan politics. It is a recognition that our values demand us to speak loud and clear in affirmation that we are better together and that dialogue can bridge the divides we encounter. Our students consistently need professionals who are willing to authentically advocate and support them especially in light of these recent actions. We must not back down in fear, but rather continue to stand together in community.
As we consider our new Equity and Inclusion Plan throughout this spring, we encourage you to reach out to MCPA about how we can best serve you and our students. Kind regards, Justin Martin President, Minnesota College Professionals Association
June 16th 2016
On behalf of the Minnesota College Professionals Association Board of Directors, we want to express our deep sadness and shock at the events in Orlando, Florida that took the lives of too many LGBTQIA+ individuals, particularly the Latinx LGBTQIA+ community. While condemning an act like this feels like too little, we do so in the strongest terms possible.
As an organization which stands for equity and inclusion in higher education and for equal access for all, targeted crimes of hate and bigotry stand in direct opposition to what we know to be true. All people deserve dignity, respect, and the safety of being able to celebrate their identities without fear of harassment. We want to call directly on our Muslim community, and Muslim allies and LGBTQIA+ kin – we see you. May we help to create continual visibility to your personhood and call out Islamophobia, homophobia, and transphobia.
Institutionalized homophobia and racism still live within our culture and we ask that both our members and the wider community take time to challenge their own assumptions, consider new perspectives, and broaden our own ways of thinking. When faced with tragedy meant to inspire fear, we hope that our communities react with love and compassion. Through dialogue and the exchange of ideas, we can bring together marginalized communities instead of building walls between us.
As the days ahead bring pain alongside the slow process of healing, we reaffirm our commitment to providing safe, empowering, and affirming spaces on our campuses and in our communities for each person to live in safety and as their true selves.
Best regards, Justin Martin President, Minnesota College Professionals Association