Graduate student groups launch #UMN4DACA campaign

PASA and HSCOA encourage students, staff and faculty to support those impacted by the DACA repeal

Cleo Krejci

University of Minnesota students launched #UMN4DACA on Sept. 18 — a letter-writing and photo campaign to rally students to protest the Deferred Action Against Childhood Arrivals repeal.

The events on Sept. 18, 19 and 25 are co-run by the Public Affairs Student Association and the Humphrey Students of Color Association.

Organizers with PASA and HSOCA, groups that function as student government for the Humphrey School of Public Affairs, said the campaign encourages students, staff and faculty members to take action against the recent DACA repeal.

The events provide materials for attendees to write letters to congressional leaders stating their position on the DACA repeal.

Participants have the option to take a photo with a #UMN4DACA poster that would then be shared on social media, said Emma Olson, PASA’s president.

The free and public events are being held in the Humphrey Forum inside the Humphrey School.

The Sept. 5 repeal of the DACA program will impact people brought to the United States as children by their undocumented parents. Congressional members have a six-month window before the repeal goes into effect.

Octavia Smith, president of HSOCA, said the #UMN4DACA campaign “opens the door for conversation.”

Olson, who co-organized the event with Smith, said she felt a need to take action against the DACA repeal as a student governmental leader.

“We’re here for a reason, and that reason is to make positive social change in the world,” she said.

The controversial repeal has sparked discussion on campus, and was also the subject of a small protest outside of Coffman Memorial Union Sept. 13. 

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler publicly expressed disappointment at the DACA repeal in a Sept. 5 University-wide email.

The campaign is one of the most recent ways, of many, students are responding to the DACA repeal, said Fernando Burga, an assistant professor at the Humphrey School. 

Dean of the Humphrey School, Laura Bloomberg, attended the event and took her picture showing her support for #UMN4DACA.

“In this case, the students may not all have exactly the same views on DACA, but they may all want to urge swift congressional action,” Bloomberg said. “And that’s really important.”

Lindsey Hofer, a graduate student at the Humphrey School, said she had never written a letter to her congressional leaders until the event.

“[Students] should have a voice in public policy,” said Bloomberg. “I am delighted any time students exercise that voice, and become actively engaged.”