UCLA-affiliated program for illegal immigrants halted

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UCLA-affiliated National Dream University — a project that would provide low-cost education through a one-year certificate program geared toward illegal immigrants — has been halted due to a lack of necessary approval by UCLA leadership.

The proposed university, which was to result from a collaboration between UCLA’s Center for Labor Research and Education and the National Labor College, would have offered a six-class, 18-credit program for participants interested in immigration and labor rights. Although the program was created to make online education more accessible for illegal immigrants, it was open to everyone.

In a statement, UCLA officials said the reason the process was halted was that the agreement between UCLA and the NLC was “negotiated without the necessary approvals from UCLA’s academic and administrative leadership.”

“As a result, the agreement has been declared void and UCLA has directed the Labor Center to suspend all work on National Dream University,” reads the statement.

Prior to the decision, the proposed Dream University drew criticism from Republicans. In a letter addressed to UC President Mark Yudof, Assemblymember Tim Donnelly, R-Twin Peaks, questioned “the nature of the partnership between a state, taxpayer funded school and the National Dream University Program.”

In a response letter dated Sept. 10, Yudof said work involving the National Dream University had been suspended and that the agreement between UCLA and the labor center has “been declared void.”

Yudof said the decision to halt the program does not preclude future agreements between UCLA and the NLC.

“Any such future agreement, however, will require the completion of a formal proposal plan with approval from the appropriate academic and administrative leadership,” reads the letter.

Shawn Lewis, executive director of the Berkeley College Republicans, said the UC system should focus on providing students with the high-quality education they are paying for.

“There still exist numerous avenues here in California for undocumented students to get an education in our public education system and receive financial aid without the Dream University program,” he said.

BAMN organizer Yvette Felarca said that BAMN plans to put up an online petition that will pressure the UC Board of Regents and UCLA to reopen the program “and open it on time.” According to the Daily Bruin, the program was scheduled to begin in January 2013.

“We intend to build a movement to make that (the Dream University) happen,” said Felarca. “We are calling on people across the country to fight and demand that UCLA reopen the Dream University and stand up to a bunch of right-wing liars.It’s capitulation, it’s ridiculous and it is the complete opposite of what the UC mission is.”

Contact Ally Rondoni at [email protected]