Students gathered around Tommy Trojan on Thursday to deliver a letter to President C. L. Max Nikias demanding increased protections and resources for undocumented and international students.
In the wake of White House policies targeting immigrants, the students came together as members of OurCampus, an umbrella organization of student clubs looking to encourage inclusion on campus.
“It’s really just about connecting people on campus who are in some way feeling excluded or marginalized,” said Henry Mattei, a junior majoring environmental sciences and economics and an organizer for OurCampus. “The goal of it is to make our campus a more inclusive place.”
The letter asks for physical and financial support for undocumented and international students. Mattei said that without support from the University, students are vulnerable to the labor exploitation and the loss of financial aid. In response, the letter requests a fund for affected students, along with other commitments to keep students secure.
The action comes off the heels of a similar letter sent by USC faculty to the administration with policy recommendations to better support students under the Trump administration.
Many felt that the University’s commitment to its international and undocumented students has been lukewarm.
“The University has given out a lot of really vague statements on the value of diversity,” said Noha Ayoub, a sophomore majoring in law, history and culture. “We want complete support from the University in this regard.”
Students entered Bovard Auditorium and delivered the letter to the office of Nikias. The letter was taken by an administrator who agreed to deliver it to Nikias. The administrator was unable to comment about the letter.
Students also visited the office of Provost Michael Quick. There, Mattei spoke with Quick’s assistant about the letter.
“The response was very limited,” Mattei said.
Despite the lack of immediate action from the administrations, students are still optimistic.
“It might not be the final thing you have to do, but it’s a step in the right direction,” said Julian Turner, a sophomore studying industrial and systems engineering. “It’s opened doors that weren’t open before.”