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Lieberman tackles Trump concerns; University to be DACA sanctuary

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Joshua Bay
News Editor

President Devorah Lieberman addressed concerns about president-elect Donald Trump and how his presidency may affect students here during the State of the University address Monday in the Campus Center Ballroom.

Lieberman stood on the floor instead of a raised stage as she spoke before roughly 60 students, faculty and staff members in the room, and to those listening to the live stream at four regional campuses.

“I’m here for all students, for access and advocacy,” Lieberman said.

The event began with Lieberman laying out the four topics she planned on covering: trends in higher education, university enrollment, California trends and the University’s 2020 strategic vision.

Lieberman pointed out the dramatic increase in ethnic diversity among college students.

“Our Latino population at La Verne reflects this and all of California,” Lieberman said.

She also noted that the number of 18-year-olds attending college is decreasing in comparison to the increasing number of older, nontraditional undergraduates.

Lieberman then turned to the subject of President-elect Donald Trump and how his presidency is expected to affect the University.

Trump’s student debt strategy will not affect the University for the student loan default rate stands at 3 percent in contrast to the twelve percent default rate of for-profit universities, she said.

Lieberman talked about Trump’s plan to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which would trigger the deportation of immigrants who came into the country illegally as children.

“Since the election, I anticipate there will be an impact towards our international students, Chinese and Middle Eastern students especially,” Lieberman said. “We need to foster a safe environment for all of our students.”

Lieberman also discussed University enrollment this fall. The recent freshman to sophomore retention rate increased to 88 percent, the highest in the history of La Verne.

“I’m proud of this, we should all be proud of this,” Lieberman said. “This is our mission.”

As her address came to a close, she took questions.

Al Clark, professor of humanities, asked Lieberman to elaborate on her position on DACA students.

“How vulnerable are the DACA students at La Verne?” Clark asked Lieberman.

In response, Lieberman ensured Clark and the audience not to panic because the University will be a sanctuary campus.

This means that the University will be a safe space, or sanctuary, where DACA students will be protected from deportation.

Professor of Kinesiology Paul Alvarez praised Lieberman for her comments on the University’s enrollment projections.

“I think it’s good for people to see how we’re competing amongst a large number of institutions,” Alvarez said. “It’s critical that we’re answering what we are doing to ensure that students want to come here and most importantly stay here.”

Joshua Bay can be reached at joshua.bay@laverne.edu.

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