Letters to the Editor
We were very glad to see an exchange of political viewpoints on the DACA question in the Jan. 16-30 issue of the Viking News. Such an exchange, even of strong and passionate views, can help readers to increase their understanding of the issues and of those most affected by them. For that reason, it is very welcome.
We were shocked, however, to see that the contribution of the Campus Republicans went beyond giving reasons why DACA should not be extended. It included language that insults and disrespects many of their fellow students and their families and, worse, contributes to a climate of fear.
The rhetorical effect of saying that immigration is “purposely changing the demographics of the country” feeds right into the narrative of those who believe that making America “great again” really means making America “white again.” We live in a time in which avowed white supremacist groups, some using violent tactics, have been literally “on the march.” Language that creates or augments an environment of exclusion, fear, and potential violence fails everyone, but particularly immigrant students, and even more particularly DACA students.
In the final paragraph the author(s) refer to DACA as creating a “permanent underclass”. They have to know that there may well be DACA recipients on this campus who, rather than resigning themselves to some imagined life of poverty in sub-minimum wage jobs, are working hard to join others in their community who have achieved solid middle-class status.
The language of this contribution serves a divisive agenda, one that threatens to divide members of the WCC college community along ethnic lines, with one group being painted as inferior and unworthy. The community college as an institution is by definition “open access,” and therefore, it is one of the most democratic institutions in the United States. Rather than deepening the perceived differences among members of the college community, we encourage language and action that strengthens the college’s community and supports the open access mission of Westchester Community College.
Dr. Heather Ostman, Presiding Officer, WCC Faculty Senate
Dr. Mel Bienenfeld, President, WCC Federation of Teachers