Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,
I want to share information and provide assurances about issues of inclusiveness and safety at UW-Milwaukee in light of events occurring in communities and on campuses nationally. In order to strengthen our research profile, create more student success, and engage more deeply with our communities, it is imperative that we foster a positive, supportive campus environment for all.
We Support Our International and Undocumented Students
First, UWM supports the continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This week I joined the ranks of many other college chancellors and presidents by signing on to a letter supporting DACA and undocumented student immigrants. DACA provides protection from deportation to children who were brought into the United States as undocumented immigrants. This protection is critical for many students who self-identified as undocumented immigrants based on an assurance of protection from the federal government.
Second, in response to requests to declare UWM a “sanctuary campus,” I have explored this possibility. There is no standard definition of what it means to be a “sanctuary campus”. In a formal or technical sense, this term is often used to signify that a university will limit cooperation with the federal government on immigration enforcement matters. To the extent this means a refusal to follow the law, I do not have authority to declare the campus a “sanctuary.” Chancellors only have authority to administer and operate the university in compliance with federal and state laws and Board of Regents policies and guidelines.
That said, in a less formal sense, we do provide and will continue to provide important protections, including activities that protect all students to the fullest extent of the law. Examples include:
- UWM abiding by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), providing significant protections for educational records with students’ personal information
- Inclusive Excellence Center’s UW-Milwaukee DREAMERS initiative, providing training to inform campus community members about the experiences of and barriers to success for undocumented students
- Facilitating clinics with volunteer legal counselors from the community to undocumented students and their families
- UWM Police Department not routinely gathering information about citizenship or immigration status
We are Committed to Campus Safety
Third, we are fully committed to keeping students, faculty, and staff safe and protecting their rights. As a public urban research university in the most heterogeneous city in the state, we must continue to stress tolerance, engage in respectful behaviors, and welcome diversity in all its forms—this is what makes us great. At the same time, UW-Milwaukee will swiftly and directly address any incidents that violate our Guiding Values, Student Code of Conduct, or UWM Faculty/Staff Code of Conduct.
Resources for Students, Faculty and Staff
Finally, I have visited several of our multicultural centers over the past couple of weeks and have been in discussions with UWM’s Student Association, Center for International Education, multicultural centers, international student groups, and others to discuss their concerns. As a result of these discussions, I want to reiterate the significant support services available to UWM students, faculty, and staff, including:
Center for International Education, first floors of Garland and Pearse Halls, (414) 229-4846
Women’s Resource Center, UWM Student Union WG93, (414) 229-4274
LGBT Resource Center, UWM Student Union WG89, (414) 229-4116
Inclusive Excellence Center, UWM Student Union 119, (414) 229-7234
Military and Veterans Resource Center, UWM Student Union, (414) 229-7211
Norris Health Center, Northwest Quadrant Building B 5th Floor, 414-229-4716
Dean of Students Office, 118 Mellencamp, (414) 229-4632
Equity and Diversity Services, 359 Mitchell, (414) 229-5923
UWM Police Department, 3410 N. Maryland Ave. (Sandburg Hall), 414-229-9911
Employees who need similar support can contact the employee assistance program.
I have charged Vice Chancellor Joan Prince to enhance our resources for students, faculty and staff facing anxiety and uncertainty in their studies and work. I have also asked Vice Chancellor Prince to work with others to address the campus environment itself – how we all respond and engage to promote a welcoming and collaborative community. Moving forward, there will be opportunities for campus conversations, beginning with an all-campus dialogue this spring, with more details forthcoming in future updates
Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee