University of Maryland’s Student Government voted last week in favor of making the school’s “Undocumented Student Coordinator” position a permanent role. The goal of the position is to “advocate for and protect” about 100 illegal immigrants enrolled at the university.
In a near-unanimous vote (34-0, with one abstention), the Student Government Association (SGA) at the University of Maryland (UMD) voted in favor of making the temporary position of “Undocumented Student Coordinator” into a permanent role, according to an independent UMD student newspaper, The Diamondback.
The position was first created in 2017 in reaction to the results of the 2016 presidential election after a coalition of student activists groups called “ProtectUMD” created a list of demands that would allegedly “protect the rights of minority students.”
One of the items on ProtectUMD’s list of demands was the implementation of “a full-time undocumented student coordinator” to advocate for and protect “undocumented and DACAmented students.”
Members of UMD’s Student Government became concerned over the position’s temporary status, especially because the current coordinator’s contract is due to expire at the end of the spring 2019 semester, with no statement by the university on whether or not the coordinator’s contract would be renewed.
Thus, the SGA’s “behavioral and social sciences representative” helped transform the issue into a bill that was brought to the floor for a vote last week.
“I commend the university for listening to students and creating this position,” said the SGA representative, “It came because students demanded it, and it’s going to stay because students pushed for it.”
The SGA member added that the position was “really important,” because it gives illegal immigrant students “one person centralized with all the knowledge, that’s keeping up with the news, knowing exactly who to contact, knowing what kind of advice to give.”
“If they take that away, I feel like it would detrimental for the students’ ability to academically succeed because they will be more stressed,” said the SGA representative.
According to the student newspaper, the coordinator is currently responsible for providing “resources and guidance” to approximately 100 illegal immigrant students at UMD, which includes providing “emotional support” and suggesting where they can obtain financial aid.