University of San Diego

Office of the President

Dear USD Campus Community:

The summer months seemed to pass very quickly as I traveled to meet with our alumni and friends of the university around the world. We are truly blessed with a global network of passionate Toreros, many of whom were born in other countries, who actively support our students and are genuinely interested in their well-being and success.

While we have much to celebrate, our role in setting the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university challenges us to confront topics of national interest that chip away at the dignity of the human person and our Culture of Care. As we begin our fall semester, we are once again confronted with a challenge that directly threatens members of our campus community.

Yesterday morning, the Trump Administration rescinded the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. This action strikes at the very heart of our values as a Catholic university by demonstrating a lack of compassion for our fellow Toreros who are working hard to earn a degree and find a legal path to U.S. citizenship. As a university community, we stand in solidarity with those impacted by this order and encourage Congress to take action to remedy this situation.

Many of you may recall that in the 2017 spring semester, we put in place a number of services for our DACA and immigrant students and even developed a webpage dedicated to addressing the issues they may face. I am grateful the task force we assembled in November 2016 has agreed to remain in place during the current academic year to continue to monitor the situation and offer counsel and advice on how best to serve our students and their families. Anticipating this decision on DACA, members of the task force reached out this past week to our DACA students to offer advice and assurances of support.

As a Changemaker campus of ethical leaders and compassionate citizens, we have an opportunity, right now, to demonstrate inclusive excellence by confronting discrimination and injustice and offering assurances of safety and solidarity, particularly to students who desire to be productive and law-abiding citizens. We can also fulfill our responsibility as engaged citizens by contacting our elected officials to urge them to take immediate legislative action to support DACA students and support policies that foster inclusive excellence on our campus.

This will certainly be on my agenda when I speak to our elected officials this fall, as I continue to be an advocate at the national level. Together, we can turn dialogue into action by showing our support and sending a clear message encouraging DACA students, as well as other students who are undocumented, to stay in college and earn their degrees.

As a university community, we have an opportunity to come together to pray for unity and for all those in need by participating in our annual Mass of the Holy Spirit at the Immaculata Church on Thursday, September 14, at 12:15 p.m. The Most Rev. Robert McElroy, Bishop of San Diego, will be presiding. Everyone is welcome to join in this opening Mass for the academic year.

James T. Harris III, D.Ed.

University of San Diego

Office of the President
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492