Despite the rain, over 50 students and some faculty showed up in Tolley/Brown Circle last night to hold a vigil for the repeal of DACA or Delayed Action for Childhood Arrivals. President Trump announced on Tuesday, September 5, that he would try to repeal the policy that allows immigrants who came here as minors the ability to work and obtain higher education.
Several students, Sabrina Chmelir (’19), Rachel Villatoro (‘19) and Kathia Osorio (’19) decided to organize the event last minute on Thursday, deciding around 3 p.m. that afternoon to hold a vigil. The vigil started with Chmelir giving some background information about what DACA is and then leading the group in a moment of silence. Some students held homemade signs while others held candles. After the moment of silence, students were invited to share their thoughts on this decision from the President. At the end of the event, students joined in on singing “We Shall Overcome”.
Villatoro (’19) explained why they chose to hold specifically a vigil: “I didn’t want it to be to political or didn’t want anybody to feel uncomfortable or there to be too much talking cause it gets boring after a while.” However, she said it was important to hold events like this “because one of your friends, one of your classmates could be one of the many students affected by this. I think that as a liberal arts school we are supposed to have a well rounded education.”
Chmelir elaborated on why she wanted to hold this event, saying, “I was really frustrated in general. I felt like, especially after twenty-four hours, the University didn’t respond to anything, and I think that says a lot about who we are. So I wanted to make sure the people on campus who feel the same way weren’t alone.” She went on to explain, “I just wanted to have a response whether it be emotional or some kind of action plan. It was mostly emotional for me.”
Pictures of the vigil by Terry Metellus
However, at 9:30 last night, President Baenninger sent out a campus wide email about President Trump’s decision. Her email explained some of the requirements for DACA recipients and explained both her and the University’s position on the matter. “I hope that all reading this will understand that Drew’s mission calls us to add to the world’s good and to respond to the urgent challenges of our time. I believe that this is an urgent challenge.” In her last paragraph she encouraged students or any other person reading her message in need of support on any immigration issues to reach out to her office as well as including a link to other resources.
Villatoro also explained about another DACA related event that will be hosted by Ariel. “We’re going to be focusing on Latinos in college. So we’re going to talk about what it’s like to be a Latino and go to college and incorporate DACA.”