Kaler’s statement about immigrants a positive step

Daily Editorial Board

Early last week, President Kaler’s office issued an important statement about his office’s support for undocumented University of Minnesota students and staff.

We support the statement made by Kaler — it reflects the administration’s nimble response to the destructive rhetoric of President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign, and Kaler’s willingness to hear out students’ concerns, especially those voiced in a petition calling for the school to be made a sanctuary campus.

On Nov. 21, Kaler joined 400 other college presidents who signed a statement in support of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — a program that defers deportation proceedings for young, undocumented people who were brought to the U.S. as minors.

Earlier this year, the College Republicans painted “Build the Wall” on their Washington Avenue Bridge panel, sparking a dialogue over free speech. Then, President Kaler’s statement on the right to speech failed to explicitly call for inclusion and the safety of all students in the University of Minnesota community.

Kaler’s response to the DACA petition was necessary to restore a semblance of trust for many communities affected by anti-immigrant or xenophobic actions. A statement, however, is only as good as the actions that follow. We hope Kaler will provide an impetus for change rather than just good dialogue.

Students and staff must come together to build an environment where all students are welcome, and we must make a concerted effort to provide support and protection for our undocumented students who have a right to learn in a safe environment.