Since the 2016 presidential elections, the future for many marginalized students at Knox has been foggy. Undocumented students and students on DACA seem to be suffering the most. While specific legislations concerning undocumented Americans are still unclear, on-campus organizations such as M.E.Ch.A. have been pushing for better resources and support of undocumented students since 2016. We as an editorial board believe that the school must do everything necessary to protect our students, especially the ones impacted by the current Administration.
Students have been receiving emails reacting to changes in legislation from President Teresa Amott, but we believe the Knox administration must be proactive in pursuing the safety of our students, instead of continuing to simply respond to troubling announcements by the Trump Administration.
Knox prides itself on its impressive legacy as a leading voice against the oppression of marginalized individuals throughout our history. Founded by dedicated abolitionists, many of the original framers of our college’s mission served essential roles in establishing Galesburg as a station on the Underground Railroad.
Knox’s strong legacy as an accepting and progressive institution is truly worth touting, but we believe that we must continue to uphold this tradition as a community. We should be leading the charge in these movements and encouraging others to join us instead of waiting for laws to change and then reacting by joining up with the pursuits of others.
For the 19 undocumented students on campus, Director of Center for Intercultural Life Tianna Cervantez has been one of the few resources. Cervantez has kept in contact with undocumented students and has held workshops to help outline their legal rights. She has also pushed for “I Support Dreamers” and “Black Lives Matter” buttons to be handed out in order to remind students that this fight is ongoing. This also reminds us that this is not just a fight for the Dreamers, but rather one that the rest of us whose very residence in this country goes unthreatened must jump in on. We need more students and organizations pushing for direct action and transparency on issues concerning undocumented students and DACA recipients from our administration.
We appreciate the time and effort invested by all those who have been working to protect Dreamers all along, as well as the need for privacy for those whose world’s hang in the balance on this issue. We owe our fellow students the basic courtesy of devoted advocacy in their defense. So, as President Amott stressed in her most recent update on the administration’s stance on DACA, we encourage you to contact your representatives and demand that they protect our scholars and friends. We would also encourage you to demand an unequivocal defense of our undocumented students by our administration, not just rhetoric in response to continued action by the Trump Administration. By taking the “wait and see” approach, Knox does our students a serious disservice. They deserve better and we must give them better.