New admin position to assist undocumented students proposed to the president’s cabinet


Juan Castillo, Staff Writer

On Nov. 7, members of the Equity Coordinating Council of the Student Success Infrastructure (SSI) presented a proposal to the Elgin Community College president’s cabinet on the creation of a new director’s position that is specifically designed to provide enhanced support to undocumented students.

According to the proposal presented to the cabinet, the person placed in this new position will be responsible for fulfilling multiple duties including educating faculty and staff on important information and resources for undocumented students and providing care and support to undocumented and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students by learning about their unique needs.

“I think on this campus, undocumented and mixed-status students are still invisible,” said Professor Manuel Salgado a member of SSI that helped create and present this proposal to the president’s cabinet. “This proposal will be an effort to make this population more visible and empower them to succeed in this environment.”

According to Salgado, ECC’s current approach to assisting its undocumented and DACA students is too fragmented. There are no clear signs or pages on the ECC website for undocumented students to look to for guidance. Adding this new position will help provide students with a go-to place for help. Whether it is financial, legal or even emotional support, the person in this new position would be trained and qualified to assist these students.

Currently, some academic advisors have worked to provide these students with any resources and assistance that they can; one of those advisors is Elizabeth Herrera. She has helped multiple undocumented students with things like finding scholarships and concerns they might have about transferring to another school with their legal status. But according to Herrera, more is needed to truly help students in these situations.

“We get pretty busy in advising, and we don’t have the training to be able to really help these students,” Herrera said. “But having someone that specializes in this area and that can dedicate their time to this would really help these students.”

Now that the proposal has been made to the cabinet, it will be reviewed and additional research will be made as well.

“ECC is committed to providing support for all students, including our undocumented student population,” said Peggy Heinrich, the Vice President of teaching, learning and development. “As such, this and other opportunities for enhancing support for undocumented students will be fully explored.”

According to Heinrich, a follow-up meeting with SSI and the cabinet has already been scheduled to further discuss the proposal for the new position. Once that meeting is complete, the cabinet will fully consider the proposal and a final decision will be made.