Chancellor’s message: Support for undocumented students

Chancellor Nicholas Dirks sent the following message to the UC Berkeley campus community today:

Dear campus community,

Today, on the eve of the Thanksgiving holiday, we pause to give thanks for all that we have. It is also a time to reflect on the needs of our friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

As noted in messages to the campus following the election, we have particular concern for those members of our community who feel the loss of a sense of safety and security, including students who are concerned about their legal status and continued ability to take advantage of all that Berkeley, and our country, have to offer.

The day following the presidential election, I joined the other UC chancellors and the president of the University in issuing a statement that underscored and described our unwavering support for all members of our community in accord with UC’s Principles Against Intolerance. As the Principles make clear, the University “strives to foster an environment in which all are included” and “all are given an equal opportunity to learn and explore” free of harassment based on immigration status, racial/ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation or political views.

Now, many of our undocumented students are expressing uncertainty and fear over possible changes to federal immigration policies that may directly affect them and/or their families, as well as the University as a whole. In that context, on behalf of the Berkeley campus, I want to state our strong support for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, its beneficiaries, and all of our undocumented students. It is DACA that allows a large number of these students to be classified as California residents for admissions and financial aid purposes, making possible a Berkeley education. I recently joined over 200 university presidents and chancellors advocating an extension and expansion of DACA in the years ahead:

We are doing everything in our power to provide our undocumented students with the services and support they need. You can learn more about the academic support we provide to these students here and about free legal resources here:

We are fortunate that Berkeley donors have been our partners in providing financial support for these programs and services. However, as the need continues to grow, we encourage individuals who want to help to give to the “Undocumented Student Program,” providing financial support to our undocumented community for both the near and long term. Online contributions can be made using this link:

We look forward to working with President Napolitano’s task force as it develops strategies for how best to protect undocumented students across the UC system in the face of possible changes to federal immigration policies. The unequivocal goal of these efforts is to protect all members of our community and ensure their continued success at the University.

If you have witnessed or experienced intimidation, harassment, or violence against individuals and targeted groups, I encourage you to file a report with UCPD, or through our hate/bias reporting site, so that these incidents can be thoroughly investigated. Other campus resources include those offered by the Undocumented Student Program, and Counseling and Psychological Services

On this thanksgiving holiday I am deeply grateful for how the Berkeley campus community has responded to the concerns and fears of our students This is a time to be united in support for all students in need, and as we face uncertain times ahead, I am confident we will once again demonstrate the core values that are Berkeley’s greatest strength and most abiding resource.

I wish all of you a happy holiday.

Nicholas Dirks