Despite the promise of Cal State Long Beach’s campaign #NoBarriers, some La Raza Student Association members say they’re finding a few of their own in the aftermath of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals repeal.
President Jane Close Conoley introduced the concept of “no barriers” at CSULB’s annual Convocation on Aug. 25. Conoley used the phrase to emphasize the importance of diversity in time of social and political instability.
Last Tuesday, CSULB posted on their official Instagram: “an estimated 250 students & faculty got together to #DefendDACA. #NoBarriers to dreaming,” and was confronted with a none-too-thrilled response from La Raza Student Association, who was tagged in the post.
“La Raza will not support the #NoBarriers campaign until Conoley addresses our demands for a sanctuary campus and is more vocal about supporting marginalized students,” the statement from La Raza’s Instagram account said. “Please remove the hashtag from any posts we are tagged in or remove the post altogether.”
As a student association, La Raza provides support and a resource network for those who identify with Latino and Chicano heritage. According to members of La Raza, Conoley has not done enough to support DACA students.
“When we saw that the campaign for this year was ‘no barriers,’ we thought it was very hypocritical,” said Asia Gonzalaz, a political science major and member of La Raza. “The only time President Conoley shows support is through email.”
In response, Associate Vice President of Public Affairs Terri Carbaugh says the president stands by DACA students and will continue to support them by addressing members of congress and the white house on this matter.
“I think that her actions speak loudly,” Carbaugh said. “She has been very vocal from the very first day about creating a climate of inclusiveness.”
Ana Garcia, a Spanish major and member of La Raza said that other college presidents across the country had already reached out to students about the possibility of a DACA repeal a week before the decision was made, while Conoley waited until the day of.
“She says that it’s out of her hands,” said Garcia. “She says that to absolve herself from responsibility.”
Both Garcia and Gonzalaz agreed that they would like to see Conoley become more accessible to them by getting involved with rallies and providing free legal representation for students arrested by ICE.
Although CSULB University Police do not work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, La Raza has said the appearance of Immigration and Customs Enforcement on campus at last year’s police job fair is still cause for concern.
“We want President Conoley to make this a sanctuary campus by not inviting ICE on campus,” Gonzalez said.
Another point of contention between La Raza and CSULB administration occurred when Conoley addressed students on campus in an email early last Tuesday, assuring those affected by the DACA repeal that “a first stop should be our Dreamers Success Center.”
“I know that she’s considered radical as a president for opening the [Dreamers Success Center] but we’ve heard that the resources there are poor and limited,” said Gonzalez. “A lot of the times folks have to come to La Raza for help instead.”
Carbaugh says she recommends that La Raza and other student groups make an effort to engage President Conoley in conversations about how to better support DACA students and to invite her to march with them in their rallies.
“We could even engage in a letter writing campaign together,” said Carbaugh. “There is a lot we can do and our doors are always open.”