Students to create undocumented students page on Whitworth website

by Emily Goodell

Undocumented students at Whitworth and students wishing to enroll at the university may soon be able to find information about scholarships and other financial aid resources on the university website.

Senior political science major Cinthia Illan-Vasquez is working with a group of students to create a web page on the Whitworth University website that would provide information about applying for nancial aid and other resources for undocumented students at Whitworth.

“As the university works toward inclusivity, there’s a greater need to provide online resources for undocumented students,” Vasquez said. “The type of resources we can provide will be crucial.”

The movement for the web page is a student-led effort. Vasquez, an undocumented student herself, has been working to create the undocumented student page with two other undocumented students, senior Karen Fierro and junior Kamau Chege.

The students are working with and have submitted a proposal for the page to professor Larry Burnley.

Some students are in full support of an undocumented student web page.

“I think this is a fantastic idea to reinforce the value of all students at Whitworth regardless of their status as citizens or noncitizens. I hope it will perpetuate understanding between students and faculty and people outside the Whitworth community about what it means to be an undocumented student,” sophomore Hannah Howell said. “More understanding is always a good thing. I support this.”

Others have concerns about the impact of the web page.

“I understand why Whitworth is doing this; however, I don’t think there is any justification for rewarding someone for being in our country illegally,” freshman Gabe Oros said.

Vasquez is hopeful the page will be one of the many efforts toward the diversity, equity and inclusion in our campus.

Vasquez hopes that the web page will be on the homepage of the official Whitworth website, but could also be on the Intercultural Student Center page or another page dealing with diversity and inclusion, she said. “We have a need to provide resources for undocumented students,” Vasquez said. “Other universities do it. Whitworth should also take the initiative to do the same.”

Universities that provide information and resources for undocumented students on their websites include UCLA, Brown University, NYU and Pacific Lutheran University. Other schools such as George Fox University and the University of Mississippi do not.

Vasquez has applied for a grant for #WhitworthUnited and was awarded funding. There will be a conference next fall for undocumented students, parents and allies in Eastern Washington.

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