A.S. Update: University contemplates approach to supporting transborder commuter students

by Kaitlyn Little, Staff Writer

The Associated Students University Council met on Nov. 28 to discuss issues regarding the caravan of Central American migrants that has arrived in Tijuana and the resulting issues that have arisen at the border.

Tijuana border conflict
The College of Arts and Letters Council is hoping to write a letter developing a stance regarding the Central American migrants seeking asylum at the border and the situation’s effect of students. Associated Students Representative for the College of Arts and Letters Jada Johnson said she wants the school to make a public statement to revere the actions that have occurred, including the decision to tear gas the migrants following attempts to rush the border, and to provide aid for those affected by the circumstances.

In a campus-wide email on Nov. 27, Dean of Students Randy Timm and Associated Students President Chris Thomas said the university seeks to provide support to students living in Tijuana who may be affected by incidents surrounding the migrant caravan, most notable of them being the potential shut downs of ports of entry. Johnson said the proposed letter would be more specific and political in nature than the campus-wide email.

“(We are) really trying to have the university to take a stance on this as well because, as big as we are and as close as we are to the border, the fact that this university hasn’t made a political statement regarding this issue (when) our students are directly being affected by it … it’s kind of the university’s job to make sure (students) are able to come here,” Johnson said.

Associate Vice President of Student Affairs Andrea Dooley said some resources such as short-term housing are directly available for students through the Economic Crisis Response Team.

“In terms of resources for students who are directly impacted, we do have mechanisms through ECRT, the Economic Crisis Response Team, and housing is (seeking) to provide short-term housing for any individual who might require or want it, given the ongoing situation with crossing the border,” Dooley said.

Dooley said the housing would come at no cost to the student. Students may stay for up to two weeks and each individual will be taken in on a case-by-case basis. Dooley said the university is also looking into providing transportation assistance to affected students through trolley passes and gas cards.

Orphanage gifts 
The College of Education will be hosting “Wrapping Up the Semester,” an event dedicated to wrapping gifts to be given to children at an orphanage in Tijuana. It will take place Dec. 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Scripps Cottage. Unused donations are needed as soon as possible, specifically items like new toys, games or clothes.