Tufts United for Immigrant Justice (UIJ) held a rally on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. on the Lower Campus Center Patio for National Institutions Coming Out Day in Support of Undocumented Education Equity.
Speakers at the rally included UIJ President Zobella Vinik, former UIJ President Liz Palma, Latino Center Director Rubén Stern, Student Immigrant Movement (SIM) Representatives Carlos Rojas Alvarez and Renata Teodoro and Director of the Consortium of Studies in Race, Colonialism and Diaspora Adriana Zavala. Speakers shared their stories and expressed support for UIJ’s demand for education equity for undocumented students who are interested in attending Tufts.
At the end of the rally, Dean of Admissions Lee Coffin announced that Tufts will now consider all undocumented student applicants to the university as domestic applicants, including, but not limited to, students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.
Coffin said that the administration is in support of UIJ’s efforts and announced that this policy is “retroactive” to the Class of 2019, noting that at least five undocumented students have been accepted and offered financial aid.
Since they established UIJ last year, the group’s members have worked diligently to educate themselves and community members about problems facing undocumented students, Vinik explained. She said they have also met regularly with administrators to push for higher education equity.
“After our [TCU] Senate resolution and open letter were passed and published last year, we knew that students were behind us on this effort,” she said.
University President Anthony Monaco released a statement supporting the announcement.
“Our announcement is in keeping with Tufts’ long-held values of inclusion and access … and is consistent with our past support for the Dream Act,” he stated. “We welcome these applicants and the value that they will add to our undergraduate student body.”
Coffin noted that this change will be reflected in the Admissions Committee’s future recruitment efforts.
“The undergraduate admissions staff will proactively and openly recruit undocumented students,” Coffin remarked, explaining that these changes are now reflected on the admissions website.
He explained that these students will be met with the full financial aid opportunities of domestic students. Because undocumented students and students with DACA status cannot apply for federal aid, applicants will receive Tufts institutional aid instead.
“Tufts will meet 100 percent of the demonstrated need of every undocumented student offered admission to Tufts, and undocumented students will be awarded need-based aid under the same packaging guidelines as domestic students, although all federal aid will be replaced with Tufts aid,” Coffin said.
Coffin also pledged to create a working group to encourage enrollment of these applicants and ensure university-wide support for them during and after their time at Tufts. He said that this group will include admissions, financial aid and student affairs staff, as well as current students.
UIJ Co-founder Daniela Salazar ended the rally by discussing similar goals for the future, such as creating an atmosphere at Tufts which is “undocumented-friendly.”
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article identified Liz Palma as the speaker in this article’s final paragraph. In fact, the speaker was Daniela Salazar. The Daily regrets this error.