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Cal State LA President Covino reiterates support for Dreamers at Spring Convocation

February 6, 2018

By Jillian Beck | Cal State LA News Service

Cal State LA President William A. Covino reiterated the university’s support for Dreamers and other immigrant students during his Spring Convocation address on Tuesday.

“Our position on Dreamers and our most vulnerable immigrant students is clear and unequivocal: These are our students, these are our colleagues. They are a part of our DNA,” Covino said. “Dreamers and other immigrants deserve what every Cal State LA student receives: a life-changing education that will allow them to fulfill their potential and to contribute to society.”

The university community packed the Golden Eagle Ballroom on Feb. 6 to hear the president discuss university successes and recent federal actions that have affected Cal State LA.

Covino’s remarks came as the nation awaits federal action on DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. In addition, thousands of immigrants from El Salvador and Haiti who are in the United States under Temporary Protected Status could be forced to leave the country.

DACA was set to expire on March 5 after the Trump administration announced the end of the program in September. But a recent ruling by a federal judge in San Francisco has allowed the program to continue, for now, enabling DACA recipients to renew their applications and employment authorization forms.

Covino underscored the need to advocate for additional support from Sacramento for the California State University system. Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed increase of $92 million for the CSU is $171 million short of the system’s budget request and does not cover the university’s minimum obligations.

“I’m asking that each of you lend your voice to this struggle for the critical funding that the CSU needs,” Covino told the gathering. “Now, more than ever, the university needs to be a place that accommodates greater numbers of students, not fewer.”

Covino noted Cal State LA’s growing national prominence, especially regarding the university’s number one ranking for the upward mobility of its students.

The university continues to forge new partnerships benefitting the university and the wider community, the president said in his address.

Achieve LA, a collaboration with the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, creates a new pathway to higher education for Los Angeles youth. A new partnership with Ballet Hispánico, the nationally renowned dance company, will offer dance performances, community dance classes and workshops, and arts and interdisciplinary courses at the university.

The Mind Matters initiative, started by Covino and First Lady Debbie Covino, continues to foster inner well-being among the campus community. The next lecturer in the Mind Matters speaker series will be Cal State LA alumnus Terrence Roberts, who will share his experience as part of the Little Rock Nine that first integrated Central High School in Arkansas.

Covino closed his remarks by highlighting several historic anniversaries in 2018.

In March, Cal State LA will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1968 East L.A. Walkouts with a two-day conference examining their educational legacy. Students from Los Angeles high schools participated in the historic walkouts to protest inequity in public education.

The Department of Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies, the first of its kind in the nation, celebrates five decades since its founding. And this year, the U.S. will mark a somber anniversary: the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who led a movement that changed the course of U.S. history.

“These are peculiar times,” Covino said. “We are shaped by history, but we can shape it as well, by resisting the tide of bigotry and bias, by standing together and telling our story.”

Photo: Cal State LA President William A. Covino delivers his Spring Convocation address. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)

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California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 28,000 students and has more than 245,000 distinguished alumni.

Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit