A Message from Chancellor Milliken
To the CUNY Community,
All of us at The City University of New York are immensely proud of our tradition, dating back almost 170 years, of providing the broadest access and a high quality education to New Yorkers, especially those from underrepresented groups and low income families and the many people who come to our city and country for opportunity. We have just gone through a difficult and contentious election season, and I heard from many of our students about the understandable concerns and anxieties this has created. I wrote to the CUNY community two weeks ago to reaffirm in the strongest terms our commitment to CUNY’s historic mission. Last week, I issued a statement specifically addressing the concerns of our immigrant students, assuring them that we will do everything legally possible to ensure their security and their place at the university. For CUNY, this is not just a pledge, it is a commitment demonstrated by our history as the clear leader among universities in this country in the support and services provided to immigrants.
Forty percent of CUNY’s undergraduates are immigrants, which is one of the primary reasons this university is so full of energy and ambition, and is such a vital contributor to New York’s success. We educate thousands of undocumented students and we lead the nation in the number of students supported with private Dreamer scholarships. CUNY’s Citizenship Now! is a nationally recognized program with offices in all five boroughs, providing a wide range of free one-to-one legal services, referrals to social services, reviews off legal status and assistance with applications. In addition, our campuses are providing counselling to students and staff, forums for discussion, and referrals to services. We have hosted widely popular Facebook live sessions for the CUNY community, with immigration advice from lawyers, student affairs advisors and other specialists. As part of our ImmigrantsMatter@CUNY campaign, we will continue our longstanding services and find more ways to serve our valuable community.
We are deeply gratified that Governor Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio have taken such strong stands on behalf of the immigrant community in New York, offering visible pledges of support, and we forwarded a special message earlier this week from Governor Cuomo to all CUNY students with important information about services the state of New York is providing. I have joined with a group of leading university presidents across the country in a letter to President-elect Trump urging that he retain the important, humane and beneficial DACA program initiated by President Obama, which helps thousands of undocumented residents and benefits our country by encouraging their contributions to our prosperity.
As we reflect on our families and communities on this Thanksgiving, as well as on our values, achievements and aspirations, I want to offer my thanks to the remarkable people, especially our immigrant students, faculty and staff, who work so hard to make CUNY special and to fulfill our mission and our promise to all New Yorkers.
James B. Milliken
The City University of New York