Today President Obama pledged the “DREAM Act” was not over because “it is the right thing to do”. On December 7, 2010 I moderated a chat on Twitter and discussed whether the Senate should pass the DREAM Act. Perhaps what was most interesting to me were the conversations I had with #CollegeChat participants the day following the chat. I came to realize that a number of attendees were hesitant to share their thoughts on the “DREAM Act” in public. What became clear to me is how charged this proposed legislation has become to the point that if you feel strongly one way or other you may be afraid to stand up for your beliefs publicly. The “DREAM Act” has become another polarized issue where the facts don’t seem to matter. This “dream” for so many illegal immigrant children will now have to wait a bit longer.
On the December 7, 2010 edition of #CollegeChat (at 6 pm Pacific and 9 pm Eastern via Twitter) we will be discussing:
- Whether the lame-duck Senate should pass the DREAM Act.
Caroline Winter recently reported for BusinessWeek in her article “Harry Reid’s Dream Act: Help for Undocumented Workers” that Reid’s proposed legislation “would allow students who arrived in the U.S. before age 16, have been in the country at least five years, and have a high school or equivalent degree, to apply for permanent residency after two years of college or military service.”
According to Winter, “Of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. today, about 65,000 complete high school each year, according to the Urban Institute. Of those, about 5 percent to 10 percent go to college. The Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, estimates that less than half of 2.1 million eligible youth would meet the act’s requirements.
For students in the U.S. illegally, the soaring cost of tuition is a near-insurmountable barrier. They are ineligible for federal loans and, in most cases, in-state tuition. For those accomplished enough to make it to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, or Dartmouth, admission means a full ride—tuition, fees, room, and board—if they are needy. Some non-Ivies, including Amherst College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have similar policies. Brown and Cornell offer full rides for needy U.S. students only, but often help non-U.S. students, too.”
In a December 4, 2010 editorial the Los Angeles Times wrote, “The reasons to support the DREAM Act are moral, pragmatic and economic. Young people go where their parents take them, and it is unjust to punish them for being brought into the country illegally.”
Furthermore, the Los Angeles Times also reported that “the Congressional Budget Office said that, to the contrary, the DREAM Act would result in revenues of $2.3 billion annually, mainly from the income and corporate taxes paid by all the newly legal workers.”
- Are colleges –most recently Notre Dame—doing a good job of protecting, reporting and pursuing justice for students who have been victimized by other students.
Notre Dame is the latest college to come under the microscope for the way it has handled the investigation into a freshman student’s allegation of sexual abuse at the hands of a Notre Dame Football player that may have led to the freshman’s suicide.
Roger Canaff, a special victims prosecutor, recently wrote an article for the Huffington Post commenting on the case titled “Elizabeth Seeberg Could Not Have Done More.”
Canaff wrote, “A freshman at St. Mary’s, a sister school to Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, she (Elizabeth Seeberg) reported a sexual assault by a ND football player the day after the incident, and followed through with everything asked of her by law enforcement and supportive professionals. Ten days later she was dead, an apparent suicide.”
In his article he goes on to write, “That’s why I’m trying to understand why Notre Dame, the world-class institution where she reported being attacked, has reacted the way it has. Why, for instance, did ND campus police wait more than 10 weeks — only after the Chicago Tribune began to demand answers — to turn a file over to the St. Joseph’s County District Attorney’s Office, the prosecutorial authority that actually has a Special Victims Unit? And what’s behind the school’s refusal to release police records about this incident, even to Lizzy’s parents? Police records are an exception to privacy laws that guard educational records.
Finally, and most disturbingly, I don’t know why the man Lizzy reported against has played an entire season of football. While it’s true that he is and should be considered innocent until proven otherwise, his privilege to play football isn’t in any way related to his legal rights as a citizen. The fact is, a young woman reported swiftly and completely a serious crime to the proper authorities that control this man’s ability to play football, and she followed through with evidence collection, counseling and cooperation. But ND has yet to even acknowledge her complaint, let alone bar him from playing at least until the investigation is completed. Coach Brian Kelly won’t state whether he’s even spoken to the accused player about the incident. He’s stated he stresses respect for women in his program, that he’s a father himself, and wants “the right kind of guys” on his team. Well, the player hasn’t been benched in three months; from this we can fairly deduce that Coach Kelly supports him as someone worthy of wearing the uniform. If that’s so, why won’t he give his reasons?”
Additional background reading for #CollegeChat:
New to Twitter?
In order to participate in the chat, attendees will need to have a Twitter account. To sign up for a Twitter account, go to http:// twitter.com. The easiest way to follow the chat is to use TweetChat (http://tweetchat.com). Simply log in to TweetChat with your Twitter information (email or username followed by password) and then enter in CollegeChat without the “#” and you will be placed into the chat room with only those participating in #CollegeChat. More detailed information about signing up for Twitter and using TweetChat can be found at http://pathwaypr.com/how-to-participate-in-a-twitter-chat .
#CollegeChat is a live bi-monthly conversation intended for teens, college students, parents, and higher education experts on Twitter. Questions for each #CollegeChat edition can be sent to Theresa Smith, the moderator of #CollegeChat via http://Twitter.com/collegechat , by entering questions online on the CollegeChat Facebook page at http://ht.ly/1XIqV , or by email. CollegeChat can also be found on Twitter at http://Twitter.com/collegechat .