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NDream celebrates new admissions policy

SARAH McCARTHY | Monday, October 7, 2013

Students and faculty gathered outside Main Building Friday afternoon to celebrate Notre Dame’s decision to admit undocumented students. 

The University announced this decision in August.

The event, titled “NDream Immigration Celebration,” was sponsored by student government, the Student Coalition for Immigration Advocacy, the Progressive Student Alliance, the Center for Social Concerns and the Institute for Latino Studies. 

In a speech given at the celebration, student body president Alex Coccia said he supported the administration’s move to include undocumented students in future Notre Dame classes. 

“We’re proud of our university for making this decision,” Coccia said. “Our primary purpose is making sure [undocumented students] feel extremely welcome.”

Notre Dame’s decision is also relevant in the larger sphere of federal politics, Coccia said.

“This is a critical moment for us nationally, and we urge Congress to pass national immigration reform,” he said. 

Juan Rangel, student body chief of staff and chairman of the Immigration Task Force, a sub-division of student government, said he believes this decision will benefit the campus community overall.

“I hope that this gathering of students shows that we are ready to welcome undocumented students to campus,” he said. “They contribute their histories, cultures and traditions with us throughout the United States. It’s one of the many benefits that we as Americans receive from our immigrant communities.”

Fr. Dan Groody, associate professor of theology and director of the Center for Latino Spirituality and Culture at Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, read a statement from University President Fr. John Jenkins regarding the new policy.

In the statement, Jenkins called for a “just and effective immigration reform” within the United States that would allow “deserving, academically qualified young men and women who are brought to the United States as children to have access to higher education in the United States and opportunities following from educational achievement.”

Senior Stephen Zerfas said he supports the new policy because it reflects Notre Dame’s role as a religious institution.

“I’m excited that the University has been able to take a stance more in line with our Catholic tradition,” he said. 

To conclude the event, Dara Marquez, a junior from Saint Mary’s College, read a poem that highlighted the experience of undocumented immigrants in the United States.

As an undocumented student herself, Marquez said the policy change is influential.

“It’s able to provide more aid for those students that are wanting to come that are undocumented,” she said. “That’s empowering.” 

Contact Sarah McCarthy at smccart6@nd.edu