With the opening of the Dream Success Center for undocumented students at California State University, some students are questioning the fairness of its creation.
Long Beach State College Republicans Chairman Nester Moto said he is trying to get the Dream Success Center in the University Student Union shut down because he feels it is unfair to other students.
“…The administration wanted to allocate the resources and the funds to illegal immigrants instead of… actual students who paid taxpayer dollars for this,” Moto said on Fox television last week.
The university’s general fund pays for the Dream Success Center. The renovation of the space cost about $16,000, Mike Uhlenkamp, the executive director of news and digital media at CSULB, said.
The estimated 650 undocumented students, or dreamers, pay full tuition and student fees to attend CSULB.
Moto, a junior political science major, said that he plans to go to the Board of Trustees on Friday [March 20] to demand that the center closes and the funds be disbursed evenly to all resource centers.
“This school is already over-stretched, and you can see that,” Moto said. “Students are not getting adequate attention, they’re not getting adequate services for what they’re paying for.”
Moto said that he will be meeting with Dream Success Center Director Rafael Topete on Wednesday, per President Jane Close Conoley and Vice President of Student Affairs Carmen Taylor suggestion.
“I don’t think any particular student is getting special treatment…” Topete said. “Ultimately we have an obligation to the university, in terms of the value of our diploma. In order to get full value, we must assure that any needs are met.”
Moto said that it is unfair for 650 students to have a counselor designated to them when, for example, the College of Liberal Arts has 7,800 students and seven academic advisors.
The Dream Success center does not have academic advisors or counselors, but rather, Topete as the Director and Edgar Romo as the coordinator. The Dream Success Center falls under the resource center category through Student Life and Development.
Moto said he will demand that all funds allocated to the Dream Success Center be dispersed evenly to all resource centers.
“We do plan on getting this place shut down,” Moto said.
Romo said that the end goal of the Dream Success Center is to promote graduation and retention rates.
“…We’re trying to help all students succeed on campus,” Romo said. “…We really believe that if we can promote success amongst this group of students, that will help all 49ers push to succeed as well.”
The center is intends to provide financial assistance referrals, information about programs and services, according to a press release on the center’s open house last week.
The press release also stated that after Associated Students Inc. passed a resolution for the center, undocumented students met with Interim CSULB President Donald Para and Conoley to discuss undocumented students’ needs.
“Yeah they fought for their center, but I didn’t know too much about it,” Moto said.”…But now that I’ve heard about it, [the College Republicans will] do everything we can to allocate the resources, not just them.”
Moto said that about ten to twenty students messaged him complaining about the opening of the center. He said he initially wanted to protest the open house but decided against it because “it wouldn’t do anything.”
CSULB’s Dream Success Center is the fourth center for undocumented students created in the California State University system.