With waves of uncertainty, anger and fear rippling through the community in Madison as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducts raids on undocumented people, Madison College has stepped to the forefront to make sure it reassures students and families that they will be supported.
Students and families of students at Madison College have the support of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, as well as the protection of federal law.
Madison College is committed to following FERPA, a federal student privacy law, which protects the identities and status of students. Because of FERPA, Madison College will not, as a practice, disclose the immigration status of any student or faculty member to anyone unless required to by law.
“We are supporting whatever students we have here and making sure Madison College is using FERPA,” Lucia Nuñez, vice president of the Office of Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement at Madison College told Madison365. “Enforcement can’t come in and say ‘Where is this student’? We can’t give that information out. This is protected by federal law.”
Over the weekend, ICE made several arrests in Madison and all across Wisconsin. The actions of ICE have been met with staunch resistance from Mayor Paul Soglin as well as community leaders and law enforcement officials from across Dane County. In some cases, ICE agents allegedly impersonated police officers and insurance salesmen in order to gain access to people’s homes.
But at Madison College, student privacy and success are expected to remain the main focus of the campus.
“It’s first and foremost that we can’t disclose info about our students to anyone coming in asking,” Nuñez said. “We support all our students. We have no idea who our students are or what their immigration status is. We’re here to educate the students and make sure they succeed. That’s what we’re in business to do and we support our students in whatever they need.”
Nuñez was not aware of any actions taking place against students at the college but said that they want students to understand there are protections in place to ensure they receive the education they’re entitled to.
Anyone in search of resources or information about immigration issues should contact Centro Hispano of Dane County. Any Madison College student or faculty member who is concerned should immediately call the Office of Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement at 608-246-6434.