The American Dream AU, a club dedicated to preserving the right of undocumented students to higher education, formed on campus this fall.
The club’s goal is to encourage the University to “examine its undergraduate admissions policy” in regards to undocumented students, according to the American Dream AU’s blog.
The club currently cannot find AU’s policy on undocumented students, according to School of International Service sophomore Carlo Chavarria, who is a founding member of the club.
“We want a discussion about undocumented students here,” Chavarria said.
The administration has been unresponsive and indirect, he said.
“[AU] offers admission to the University to qualified students regardless of one’s citizenship” and undocumented students may even be eligible for merit-based scholarships, according to Maralee Csellar, associate director of AU media relations.
The club’s members are not sure if there are any undocumented students at AU, but the group hopes that if there are any that they feel comfortable coming to the club as a place of sanctuary.
Approximately 65,000 undocumented students graduate from American high schools every year, but 95 percent do not pursue higher education, according to The American Association of State Colleges and Universities website.
Chavarria said only five percent of undocumented students pursue a degree because of a lack of opportunity.
“The promise of the American dream is denied to them,” he said. “This is the country they know and the life they know … some of them only find out about their undocumented status half way through the college application process.”
The club was founded collectively by a number of students with support from the Community Action and Social Justice Coalition, also known as CASJ.
Chavarria said American Dream AU is having a hard time connecting to the student body despite its 39 members.
However, Chavarria said he has not lost faith.
“If there is anything I have learned by working with social activists on campus,” he said, “it’s that there is always going to be someone happy to join.”