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EOP Accused of Suppressing Dreamers Voices

Dreamers students are being let down while at their most vulnerable

We+Have+a+Dream+board+with+inspirational+messages
We Have a Dream board with inspirational messages

We Have a Dream board with inspirational messages

Ani Nalbandian

Ani Nalbandian

We Have a Dream board with inspirational messages

Ani Nalbandian, Copy Editor

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Since the inauguration of President Trump, outwardly it seems the Cal State LA Administration has been supportive of undocumented students. However several Dreamers students have come out in opposition of this assessment.

Rocio Diaz, a Peer Mentor at the Dreamers Resource Center, has filed an official grievance with the Educational Opportunity Program regarding the treatment of Dreamers students by the Administration. Diaz explained in the grievance how the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), which hosts the Dreamers Resource Center, has been actively trying to suppress Dreamers voices. During a student interview of Rocio by an undergraduate communications major, Marrian Zhao, an EOP official stepped in to stop the interview. “She quickly told me to stop with the process until I got permission from public affairs,” said Diaz. The official claimed that the pair needed approval by the Public Affairs office in order to conduct any interviews, which is odd given the lack of policies or precedent supporting that claim.

Diaz and the Dreamers Resource Center have asked for a formal investigation, by an independent party, into the event. They are also requesting bilateral meetings between the EOP, DRC and the Administration in order to discuss how to resolve ongoing issues.

The Educational Opportunity Program does not finance the Dreamers Resource Center; however in a bizarre twist has authority over the Center. Rocio told us that, “The Erika J. Glazer Foundation’s 1.3 million endowment donation is what made the Dreamers Resource Center possible.” The EOP’s role in relation to the Dreamers Resource Center is to provide financial assistance to those students who are undocumented. “They [EOP] are not giving us the support we need right now in these political circumstances,” Rocio explained.

Multiple Dreamers students have come forward to support Rocio’s allegations of Dreamer suppression by the Administration and EOP. Sophy, a former EOP Peer Mentor Advisor commented on the relationship between EOP and the Dreamers Resource Center. “It is a hostile relationship; I do not think EOP has the time or the vision to support the development and growth of the DRC since they must put themselves together to manage its own program.”

Jose Guevara, a DRC employee express support for Diaz, saying “I would stand with her grievance and believe this could have been avoided if some responsibility would have been taken. They decided to ignore it and is vital that an answer is given.”

Maria Rodriguez, a Dreamers Resource Center Student Intern, has said “From my experience, I do not feel that the center is helpful at all to our people (undocumented students) on several occasions I have asked for help and the staff at the EOP center either have been really rude, unhelpful, and an obstacle for me to provide services to students.”

Several other students expressed support, however because of negative connotations associated with being a Dreamer; they have decided to remain anonymous. One student says, “I was under the impression that EOP and the DRC are collaborative entities. However, on multiple occasions I have witness Dreamers treated with contempt by EOP staff or EOP staff making disparaging comments regarding the DRC.”

A second student who commented under anonymity says, “Rocio was doing her job by helping out a student towards an interview that the student had to do for a class. One of our specific duties as staff members in EOP and the DRC, is to help out students as much as possible in their academics, and I strongly believe that is what Rocio was doing prior to the incident. She has my support in this grievance.”

In response to our request for comment regarding Rocio’s allegations, Executive Director for Communications and Public Affairs, Robert Lopez told the University Times that, “Cal State LA supports Dreamers. We are proud to be home to the Erika J. Glazer Family Dreamers Resource Center, which is the only Dreamers Center in the CSU funded by a permanent endowment.“

“We support, and will continue to support, our Dreamers through workshops, forums, counseling sessions and legal clinics,” Lopez continued. “We are planning additional events and workshops, and staying attuned to ongoing issues.  Our Post-Election Communications webpage was created to assist Dreamers and other students and includes communications, articles, links to resources, and a list of upcoming events.”

Rocio additionally alleges that the Administration has failed to show support for the Dreamers students. She claims that since Trump’s inauguration, neither President Covino nor other top administrative officials have stopped by the Center to offer support. “No one has been sent in to check on us since the inauguration. The only times someone has stopped in, it was to find imperfections in the Dreamers Resource Center operations,” Rocio said in an interview with the University Times.

Dreamers students at Cal State LA are perhaps the most vulnerable on campus. It seems that instead of providing additional support during a difficult time, the administration has decided to take a hard-line stance against assistance. Rocio explained that she only wants assistance for struggling students. “I hope sometime soon this will change and we finally earn the treatment and respect we deserve.”

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EOP Accused of Suppressing Dreamers Voices