Fabricated email, posing as Creighton, announces change to aid policy for undocumented

UPDATE 1/30 10:00 AM

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A number of students, staff and faculty who received an email Monday impersonating Interim President Joanne Creighton didn’t realize it was a fabrication – with many disappointed that it was.

Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Jess Lord said he didn’t receive or hear about the email until a few members of his staff, unsure about the veracity of the email blast, asked him about it.

“There’s an effort now to understand the scope of this…[and] what the appropriate reaction is,” said Lord. “But I absolutely expect there to be action. It’s an outrageous violation of the trust of the community.”

While the content of the email is made-up, Lord says changing the financial aid policy for undocumented applicants is still a real, and very active topic of discussion among senior staff, the Faculty committee on Admission and Board of Managers Student Affairs committee. He said that within these committees, they are struggling to estimate what such a policy might cost, and what alternatives to being completely need-blind might be.

“Should we have a change in policy, we don’t know how many undocumented students might apply or be qualified for admission – it’s only speculative. But even what I regard as conservative estimates are significant costs to the institution,” Lord said. “So some of the conversations are, are there alternative options? And are those viable and satisfactory alternatives?”

Although undocumented students are not allowed to accept federal financial aid, and in most cases, state aid, private institutions set their own rules. In that sense, there are no legal barriers to providing aid.

“But it’s regarded by some as a grey area for other college resources. There are some institutions who have felt uncomfortable – and others who have felt completely comfortable – with undocumented with students on their campus,” said Lord.

“I feel a lot of confidence that the primary, if not only barrier, to making a policy change is financial,” he said.

 

ORIGINAL POST 1/28/13, 11:35PM

An email intended for the Haverford community was sent Monday afternoon from a Gmail account posing as Interim President Joanne Creighton, announcing an “Official Apology to the Undocumented American Community,” the subject line reads.

According to Ian Gavigan ’14, he and other members of the Faculty Committee on Admission received an email from Dean of Admissions Jess Lord late Monday confirming the email was a fabrication.

The email, sent from “creighton.joanne@gmail.com,” wrote to inform the community of the “much needed development” of need-blind admissions for undocumented immigrant students.

Therefore with my approval, Jess Lord has directed the staff of the Admissions Office to extend the same fair, need-blind admissions consideration to undocumented applicants as is currently granted to documented applicants.  Jess Lord has said that undocumented admits will receive at least the same financial aid packages as U.S. citizen admits.  While this would keep Haverford’s costs the same, Jess Lord has said that Haverford will likely be able to fully fund them by covering the missing federal aid and will do so if at all possible.

The email was addressed to faculty, staff and student listservs, although it was reportedly not delivered to all those addresses.

The issue of admission standards for undocumented students has been on the table since students passed a resolution to provide fair admissions consideration for undocumented students at the Spring 2012 Plenary. At Bryn Mawr’s Spring Plenary, students ultimately tabled the vote.

Efforts by Bi-Co activists have escalated the conversation. Jessica Hyejin Lee ’13 of Bryn Mawr made headlines in regional papers as she joined a national movement of undocumented students revealing their immigration status (Philly.com, Patch.com, The Bi-College News). Lee and an undocumented student from the University of Pennsylvania were arrested, and later released, during a demonstration in front of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility, demanding the release of undocumented immigrant Miguel Garcia.

As of Monday night, it is unclear who sent the email and how many members of the community received it.

“I supported the plenary resolution. Personally, I want our community to make real progress in realizing its goals. I hope the fake email doesn’t get in the way of that process,” said Gavigan.

The full text of the email is pasted below. We will update this post as more information comes in.

From: Interim President <creighton.joanne@gmail.com>
Date: January 28, 2013, 11:44:40 AM EST
To: hc-faculty-broadcast, hc-staff-broadcast, hc-students-broadcast
Cc: mossojose@live.com
Subject: [HC-students-broadcast] Official Apology to the Undocumented American Community

Dear Members of the Haverford Community,

I write to inform you of a much needed development.  Since last spring, I have been engaged in thoughtful discussion with students, faculty committees, members of the Board, Senior Staff, and other stakeholders in the Haverford community as a result of the resolution passed during Spring Plenary that called for extending fair, need-blind admissions to undocumented applicants.  I want to thank the student body for its careful consideration and moral wisdom in passing this resolution, raising this issue, and prompting this announcement.

I reviewed not only Haverford’s current admission policy which grants undocumented applicants a separate and unequal admissions process, but also our Quaker roots and our commitment to the values of trust, concern, and respect.  Like you, I was greatly disturbed that our current policy has effectively banned an entire group of students from our campus.

For the past few months, we have been considering how to rectify this conflict between our values and our policies.  Therefore with my approval, Jess Lord has directed the staff of the Admissions Office to extend the same fair, need-blind admissions consideration to undocumented applicants as is currently granted to documented applicants.  Jess Lord has said that undocumented admits will receive at least the same financial aid packages as U.S. citizen admits.  While this would keep Haverford’s costs the same, Jess Lord has said that Haverford will likely be able to fully fund them by covering the missing federal aid and will do so if at all possible.

This is progress that we should all be proud of, but there is more work to be done to both move us forward and to repair the harm inflicted.  That’s why I am now apologizing on behalf of Haverford to the undocumented American community for our history of discrimination and exclusion.  This history is truly shameful, but I am proud of the student body’s response, proud of this policy of equality, and proud of this much needed apology. In the coming days, I will be in touch with representatives of the undocumented American community to further extend this apology. I would especially like to apologize to one current applicant, Jose (cc’d), who bravely came out as undocumented in a youtube video directed at Haverford, for our previous unwelcoming policy and for the added stress it may have caused you. I personally invite you to come tour our friendly campus.  I would also like to apologize to the undocumented Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore students who have taken classes at Haverford but never felt fully accepted.

I look forward to discussing what more we, as a welcoming community, still has to do.  On February 8th and 9th the Board of Managers will meet and explore options to further institutionalize this acceptance.  The Multi-cultural office, Customs Persons, and Peer Awareness Facilitators will also be playing lead roles in promoting tolerance and fully accommodating all students.  As this pursuit of equality and forgiveness continues under the care of Dan Weiss and future classes, Haverford will both face challenges and reap rewards currently unseen.  Indeed, Haverford will be made stronger by attracting the most intellectually curious and driven students, whether documented or undocumented.

Sincerely,

Joanne V. Creighton

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