Students Organize Program to Discuss California Dream Act

Forum Debates Legislation That Would Extend Aid to Undocumented College Students

April 22, 2008

By Mimi Ko Cruz

Members of the university’s Alliance for Students for an Equal Education kick off a letter-writing campaign Friday, April 25, with a 7-9 p.m. forum to support the California Dream Act. The act, proposed and sponsored by Sen. Gilbert Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger in 2007.

The latest bill excludes the Cal Grant program, but would allow undocumented students to be eligible for grants, scholarships, work study and loan programs offered by campuses in the California State University, University of California and California Community College systems. Federal legislation similar to the California Dream Act is being considered in the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The forum will feature a panel of speakers, including Alexandro J. Gradilla and Patricia A. Pérez, assistant professors of Chicana and Chicano studies, other faculty members from area universities and representatives from community groups, including Power PAC and the Orange County Dream Team.

The event in the theatre of the Titan Student Union is co-sponsored by Student Affairs, Chicana and Chicano Studies and Students for Peace and Social Justice. It is one of several similar forums being hosted by student groups at other colleges, including USC, Glendale Community College and Los Angeles City College.

Letty Serrato, a psychology and human services student organizing the event, said those who attend will be asked to send letters in support of the legislation to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state's Congressional representatives.

"I'm not undocumented, but as much as I deserve a quality education and opportunities for good jobs, my friends who are undocumented deserve the same because we are all human beings, regardless if we have documents or not," Serrato said.

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