IDEAS gets closer to confirming Dream center

Associated Students, Inc. voted to support a Dream Center for undocumented students on campus last Wednesday, April 13.

“The goal is to let the institution know that undocumented students are here and we are your classmates,” said Miguel Castillo, graphic design major and president of Improving Dreams, Equity, Access and Success, the group that proposed the center to ASI. “To gain institutionalized support from the University, and also have a centralized location (for these students).”

Naeemah Charles, the vice president of external affairs, brought the motion before the committee and supported funds to be allocated for the creation of the center.

IDEAS is a group lead by SF State students on campus. The members advocate for undocumented and AB540 students, provide a network of support, and assist excelling in higher education.

Castillo formally presented the goals of the Dream Center to the ASI panel. IDEAS asked for awareness of undocumented students on campus and to gain recognition from SF State.

According to an information guide provided by IDEAS, since 2008 SF State’s undocumented student population has risen 600 percent. The Dream Center will aid in securing lower tuition costs for AB540 and undocumented students and give students access to job opportunities that are not available through work study.

The vice president of IDEAS, Pamela Ortiz, urged the ASI representatives to move forward with the creation of the Dream Center. Ortiz emphasized that SF State is the only Bay Area CSU campus without a space devoted to undocumented students.

Francesca Colonnese, a physics major at SF State, supported the creation of a Dream Center, especially because it aided in financial support for students.

“Anything to make college more affordable for students is a good idea,” Colonnese said.

AB540 students have attended high school in California for at least three years and received a high school diploma or equivalent. These students are exempt from paying the nonresident student tuition fees and may or may not be undocumented.

“AB540 students, with the mass majority being undocumented, doesn’t mean they are necessarily (all) undocumented as well,” Castillo said. “AB540 applies to tuition. Someone could be a U.S. citizen coming from Nevada but went to high school here. Now they qualify for in-state tuition.”

“There are nine sister campuses right now that have resource centers,” Ortiz said. “We were hoping to be the first as a social justice school, but we have fallen behind. We are the only public university in the Bay Area without a resource center.”

The ASI board fully supported the creation of space and funding for the Dream Center for the amount of $8,000. The board motioned to have the Dream Center approved by their last board meeting on April 27. The future location of the resource center is still unknown.

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