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Dartmouth says it supports its DACA students despite criticism from alum

By MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent

February 13. 2018 11:50PM
In an open letter on Facebook, 1998 Dartmouth alumnus Unai Montes-Irueste says he'll sever his ties with the Ivy League school. (Facebook)



HANOVER — Despite being criticized by a former alum for its perceived tepid response to attacks on the Dreamer program, Dartmouth College said it stands behind students benefiting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

“From the moment the future of DACA became uncertain, Dartmouth has been taking concerted action to assist, support, and protect its DACA students,” Dartmouth College spokesman Diana Lawrence wrote in an email Tuesday. “College officials, including President Hanlon, have been in direct and frequent communication with members of Congress to advocate strongly for the continuation of DACA or new legislation that would ensure that those who were brought to this country as children and had obtained legal status under DACA can continue to pursue their studies freely and without fear.”

The college was recently criticized by Unai Montes-Irueste, a 1998 alum of Dartmouth and vice president of the Dartmouth Association of Latinx Alumni. In an open letter on Facebook, Montes-Irueste says he’ll sever his ties with the Ivy League school.

“I resign as Vice President of the Dartmouth Association of Latinx Alumni. I resign from the Board of the Dartmouth Club of Los Angeles. I resign from the Board of my Class. I will no longer donate any money or time to Dartmouth College. I will not interview candidates for admission, or recommend that those accepted matriculate. And while I will miss seeing my friends dearly, I will not attend Reunion,” Montes-Irueste said in his open letter posted on Facebook on Jan. 30. “In November of 2016, I wrote Dartmouth’s President, Phil Hanlon, its Provost, Carolyn Dever, and the College’s Executive Committee, urging that resources be allocated for the protection of vulnerable students. I made it quite clear that the motivation of this letter was neither partisan, nor political. It was merely a request that preparations be made should the incoming President of the United States reverse the policies of his predecessor.”

Dartmouth College President Phil Hanlon’s response was to reissue an earlier letter that Montes-Irueste’s says contained no commitments.

In response to questions about Montes-Irueste’s letter, Lawrence said Dartmouth continues to support these students with a wide range of services.

“Dartmouth has been offering and will continue to offer students referrals to legal services related to DACA, including outside attorneys, nonprofit legal clinics, and advocacy organizations. In the fall of 2017, we offered students group and one-to-one consultations with attorneys and covered those costs, in full. We have also defrayed DACA renewal filing fees for students who could not afford them and established a system through Student Affairs that enables students who demonstrate need to request assistance with the cost of DACA-related fees. Our DACA Resource page online also includes a link to ImmigrationLawHelp.org, a network of low-cost or free providers across the U.S.,” Lawrence wrote, adding, “We are in ongoing contact with the ACLU, which seeks to ensure the rights of individuals who are subject to U.S. Customs and Border Protection policies as they use public transportation in the Upper Valley, given the area’s proximity to an international border.”


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