By THE BLUE & GRAY PRESS STAFF
The previous academic year at the University of Mary Washington was filled with discussions, debates, the presidential election and national discord felt even at the community level. The year also brought about many changes at the campus level with the first year and inauguration of our university’s president, Troy Paino. In the conservative area of Spotsylvania County, just an hour away from Washington D.C., our community felt the reverberations of the partisan political tension.
UMW’s administration made a conscious effort last year to make UMW a welcoming place for students. Last spring, various administrators devoted their time to creating an open line of communication between UMW students and UMW United to unite the community during a tumultuous time.
This year, faculty and staff have been hit by disheartening news. On Tuesday, the Department of Justice decided to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program over the next six months. The program provided benefits for undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children and several UMW students are registered in the program. An email sent out by Marty Morrison, featured President Paino’s sentiment regarding the issue. President Paino asserted his commitment to the students of UMW to find a way for everyone to finish out their education at UMW.
“Mary Washington thrives because of the many voices and experiences within our community, and we are committed to providing the opportunity of a college education to all of our students,” wrote Paino. “Societies succeed best when all have access to education and talented people have opportunities to contribute.”
Paino wrote in the email that the administration has reached out to the students in the program individually to reassure them that the UMW administration is standing with them. Administration has also promised that they will work with the Attorney General’s Office in Virginia to help the affected students.
It is our responsibility as students and American citizens to make our voices heard. Please reach out to your local senator or the UMW administration.