Our Support for Undocumented Students

Elissa Tenny | December 16, 2016

Dear SAIC Community,

In recent weeks you have come together to affirm what it means to be a part of our creative community. The support and care you have expressed for each other in our studios and classrooms, in community gatherings and critiques, are a powerful and inspiring reminder of the value we place on providing a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment. At the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), we know that we are stronger when the voices of all our students, faculty, and staff are heard and valued.

A number of you have reached out to share your specific concerns about our undocumented students and the uncertainties they face. Please know that SAIC remains committed to a policy of welcoming and supporting students regardless of their citizenship status. As part of this commitment:

  • We do not and will not voluntarily provide information regarding citizenship status to federal authorities;
  • We do not allow immigration enforcement activities on our campus unless compelled to do so by law;
  • We have been in touch with our undocumented students since the election and are offering them assistance, resources, and other support appropriate to their individual circumstances.

Our institutional commitment also includes strong support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which provides certain protections for eligible undocumented immigrants who arrived in the United States as children. Recently, I joined more than 575 other college and university presidents as a signatory of a petition calling for DACA’s continuation and for leaders in other sectors to show their support for the vulnerable among us.

I strongly agree with the petition that DACA is a moral imperative and national necessity. DACA is also an endorsement of the idea that each of us has something unique to offer our democracy. As I shared with you in my Post-Election Values e-mail on November 22, we must continue to celebrate the creative spirit and know that its roots lie in our individuality and in our community; believe that there is only strength to be found in our diversity; and stand firm against conduct that would seek to intimidate or injure any one among us and, in doing so, diminish us all.

With hope,

Elissa Tenny