Peoples College of Law: Stop Discriminating Against Undocumented Students!
The Association of Raza Educators' Campaign to Open Peoples College of Law to Undocumented Students: Public Update
March 6, 2010
Los Angeles, CA
The Association of Raza Educators (A.R.E.) has previously issued public statements contending the Peoples College of Law (P.C.L.) has denied a prospective student, "Esperanza," admission due to her immigration status. A.R.E. would like to retract and clarify such statements at this time, as it was never our intention to mislead the public on this matter. Esperanza never formally applied for admission to P.C.L.; thus, our statement that she was denied admission is inaccurate. In fact, Esperanza requested information regarding the social security requirement and was told, "At the present time we are only able to take permanent residents, green cards or social security numbers" (June 21, 2009 email). This was reiterated on August 18, 2009: "There are simply no exceptions to this rule. If [she] does not have a visa and is undocumented we also can not accept her." This and other information she received from P.C.L. staff actively discouraged her from applying. The communication she received from P.C.L over the next several months was that of such cultural insensitivity, that Esperanza is now unsure whether she still wants to apply at all.
A.R.E. would like to acknowledge and applaud the Peoples College of Law for recently adding links to their website regarding social security requirements and the State Bar; these changes are an important first step toward embracing undocumented students as viable candidates for their institution. However, it is also important to acknowledge that these changes have come about as a result of Esperanza's continuous inquiries into their policies, as well as A.R.E.'s advocacy. The burden to do what is right and just should never be placed on marginalized peoples; rather it falls on the institution, especially those that are progressive in their missions.
Further, to our knowledge, the Peoples College of Law does not have a nondiscrimination statement that admission to their institution is open to all students, regardless of immigration status, on their website nor application. It is imperative that, as a progressive organization, they add such a statement in the near future, as this will ensure that no prospective student is discouraged from applying as Esperanza was.
A.R.E. would like to reiterate our openness to meeting with P.C.L. board members to further this dialogue. We stand by Esperanza and all other undocumented students and will continue to advocate on their behalf.
The Association of Raza Educators, Los Angeles Chapter
Chair: Maria C. Vargas-Rodriguez, Attorney, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice Chair: Bill Maestas, Attorney, email@example.com
Treasurer: Shannon Ames, PCL Graduate, firstname.lastname@example.org
Secretary: Karen Millet, PCL Student, email@example.com
Student Representative: Kivi Neimi, PCL Graduate, firstname.lastname@example.org