Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Dear Members of the Cumberland University Family,
We at Cumberland University are profoundly disappointed that President Trump has refused to support the continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The act allows these immigrant children, now young adults, to work, go to school, and serve in the military without fear of deportation. As a nation, we should embrace these young people and as a University, we have and will continue to do so.
My stance, as President of Cumberland University, is that ending the DACA program would have an immediate deleterious effect on our campus, community, and ultimately our country. I urge Congress to act firmly and swiftly to promote protection and a path to citizenship for our DACA students. These students are under a tremendous amount of pressure to build better futures for themselves, their families, and their communities. They are high-achieving academically, and have great potential to become professionals who will be assets to the only country most of them have ever known. They are truly driven to achieve the American Dream.
One of our trustees, Dr. Michael Spalding, is the greatest champion I know for the right of DACA students to have an opportunity for higher education. He created Equal Chance for Education, a competitive scholarship award program for students who meet a high academic standard, demonstrate financial need, and have a definitive career goal. They are our future lawyers, teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs, and leaders. Cumberland University is proud to have 32 ECE scholars who are both gracious and ambitious in pursuit of the American dream. Based on their success so far, I am betting that their objectives will be achieved if we continue to afford them this opportunity.
Today, Dr. Spalding and I spoke to the ECE students at CU to reassure them that they have our unequivocal support in every way. We feared that we would face a group of broken dreamers. Instead, we found a positive, hopeful group who bolstered our spirits. The recent news about changes to DACA brings their collective voice to the forefront where words can now be put to action. Their compelling stories and circumstances have finally been brought to the national dialogue. Since the President refuses to act, we can only hope that Congress stands up for the principles on which this country was built.
Cumberland University is here to support the dreams of all of our students, regardless of their backgrounds. I agree with the words of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who said: “The land flourished because it was fed from so many sources — because it was nourished by so many cultures and traditions and peoples.”
I urge you to voice your feelings on this matter by contacting your legislators. Their contact information can be found at https://www.congress.gov under the members tab.
Paul C. Stumb, Ph.D.
Cumberland University has one of the longest, richest histories of any higher education institution in the state. Founded in 1842, the University flourishes today with exceptional faculty and fully-accredited academic programs steeped in the liberal arts, including three distinct schools: the Rudy School of Nursing and Health Professions; the School of Humanities, Education, and the Arts; and the Labry School of Science, Technology, and Business. With a student body approaching 2,500, 25 percent of whom live on campus, our unique residential living and learning experience allows students to find their sense of belonging. Athletics also are a strength of Cumberland University, as its teams in 20 sports regularly compete for conference and national championships. Its world-renowned baseball team has claimed the NAIA national championship title three times since 2004.