Illegal immigrants at Columbia University are demanding free health coverage along with mandatory “sensitivity training” for professors and staff.
“We refuse to amend or change any of these demands,” the group UndoCU began their 13-point list. “We expect the university to act,” they said, lamenting Columbia’s “lack of intrinsic interest in its [illegal] students.
One of the more audacious demands calls for “full reimbursement of the health insurance fees,” complaining that the university’s International Students and Scholars Office only refunds “portions of these fees.”
Columbia requires all students to be covered by health care while enrolled, which costs roughly $3,000 per year in addition to co-pays and deductibles.
UndoCU also demands “specialized fundraising for undocumented students,” in order to create “undocumented student[-]specific scholarships and grants” for illegal immigrant students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.
“Need[-]based funding must be available for undocumented students at all Columbia University and affiliate schools,” the ultimatum continues, referring to affiliates such as Barnard College and Union Theological Seminary.
Upset at the use of the term “illegal,” the group also demands “sensitivity training” for professors and staff at Columbia, as well as an ombudsman “who understands the psychological, financial, administrative, and all other dimensions” of the illegal immigrant experience.
“Much like sexual health training, it is imperative that immigration subjects be treated with the proper language and information,” the document insists. “It is unacceptable for students to be called ‘illegal’ in their own classrooms or for professors to tell us to ‘get legal.’”
The group also wants illegal immigrant students to be designated as domestic students, saying their current status as international students could expose their personal information to the Department of Homeland Security, and making a special point of demanding reimbursement for the $70 international student fees they have already paid.
The students also want Columbia to provide them with guaranteed summer housing, which they imply should be at least partially subsidized, along with hiring “counselors trained in trauma” and career advisors trained to help illegal immigrant students.
While they accuse the administration of “inaction” in the face of “national and federal forces,” Columbia has in fact taken numerous step to support illegal immigrant students.
The school devotes an entire page on its website to listing the resources it offers for such students, noting that it has designated a liaison between undocumented students and the administration, arranged pro-bono legal representation, and even provides support from Counseling and Psychological Services.
UndoCU, otherwise known as the Undocumented Students Initiative, was created just prior to Donald Trump’s election, which the group’s supporters did not take well, flooding the page with hyperbolic lamentations on election night and immediately after.
UndoCU did not respond to a request for comment from Campus Reform, and a spokesperson for Columbia declined to speak on the record.
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