A short time ago, the White House announced that it is terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. According to the administration, applications will no longer be accepted, effective immediately, and the program will fully expire in March 2018, giving Congress six months to replace it with new legislation. We will work to provide a more complete analysis of this action within the next 24 hours and post it to our webpage dedicated to updates on immigration-related information.
In the months leading up to this decision, many of my peers at institutions across the country and I have strongly advocated for the continuation of DACA, evidenced by the more than 600 higher education leaders who signed this November 2016 letter of support. As I stated in a recent letter to our U.S. Congressional leaders:
"The young people who benefit from DACA - children who had no control over how they arrived in the United States - are active, engaged and contributing members of higher education learning communities across the country. ... The individuals (DACA) protects add immeasurable value to our colleges and universities, our communities, and our country as a whole."
As we evaluate the implications of this decision and explore opportunities for further advocacy on the legislative front, I want to reaffirm what I shared with you last academic year: Bucknell is committed to respecting and protecting your privacy, including as follows:
- Release of Information - The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) protects the information contained in student education records. Bucknell will not disclose FERPA-protected information in response to a third-party request without either (1) a student's permission, or (2) a properly issued subpoena or warrant. It is important to understand that "directory information" - which includes, among other elements, a student's name, address, telephone number and major - is not protected by FERPA unless a student takes additional steps to request its protection. You can find a complete listing of the categories of directory information at bucknell.edu/FERPA. This link also provides details on how students can block the disclosure of directory information
If an immigration enforcement officer - or any other individual, including parents and members of the media - were to request (1) anything more than directory information, or (2) ANY information regarding a student who has requested that directory information not be disclosed, Bucknell would first require a subpoena or warrant. Bucknell would provide the student with notice of the subpoena prior to producing the requested information unless doing so would violate a court order.
- Undocumented Status - While Bucknell is required to maintain certain information regarding international students here on student or exchange visas, we do not maintain a record identifying undocumented students. Again, if we were asked by authorities to provide information about students who might be undocumented, we would not comply unless required by a warrant or subpoena.
- Involvement of Public Safety in Enforcement Activities - While Bucknell does not bar federal, state or local authorities from campus for the reasons discussed [in the letter], we are not required to participate in immigration enforcement activities. Bucknell's Department of Public Safety does not play any role in the enforcement of federal immigration laws and, again, will not do so without a subpoena or warrant.
Our University is committed to fostering an environment in which students develop intellectual maturity, personal conviction and strength of character, informed by a deep understanding of different cultures and diverse perspectives. We must continue in our efforts to build a more diverse and inclusive community, supporting, in particular, our students and colleagues most directly impacted by recent decisions from the White House. Together, we will continue our work to create a better Bucknell for all.