Elon progresses in strategic plan for LGBTQIA community

by Dalton Cox

The lobby of Elon's Gender and LGBTQIA Center
The lobby of Elon’s Gender and LGBTQIA Center Photo by Dalton Cox

On May 10, 2015, Elon University’s LGBTQIA Task Force Implementation and Assessment Team released its first annual progress report in a 3-year strategic plan, aimed at bettering the experiences of Elon’s LGBTQIA students, staff, faculty and alumni.

Rodney Parks is Elon’s registrar and a member of the University’s LGBTQIA Task Force Implementation and Assessment Team.

“It does reaffirm to every student that we value this group of people on campus, and you have a lot of us who are really fighting hard to push for the rights of students, faculty and staff alike to make this a campus of equality,” Parks said. “I think we have a long ways to go but we’ve done a lot of work in a very short period of time.”

Some of the highlight achievements include Elon’s the implementation of LGBTQIA housing with mixed genders, as well as the option for applicants to Elon to identify their sexual orientation or gender identity on their college application.

“One of the biggest things that we’re so proud of is asking the question on the admissions application, ‘do you affiliate with the LGBT community,’ ” Parks said. “I think with the incoming First-Year class, you’re looking at 6 percent that actually answered that question.”

Sara Machi is a current First Year at Elon, who identifies as an ally to the LBGTQIA community. Machi plans to live in LGBTQIA housing next year.

Letter by Barack Obama recognizing Elon's efforts in LGBTQIA inclusivity. Click to enlarge. Photo by Dalton Cox
Letter by Barack Obama recognizing Elon’s efforts in LGBTQIA inclusivity. Click to enlarge.
Photo by Dalton Cox

“You don’t want people to feel uncomfortable in their home on campus,” Machi said. “This offers a way for people to live with people that they feel the most comfortable living with.”

Over the past academic year, Elon’s Campus Pride Index ranking has risen above over 250 colleges and universities.

Kirstin Ringelberg is a professor of art history at Elon. She worries that Elon’s efforts to recruit more LGBTQIA students may create initial disappointments.

“There’s a difference between what we want to achieve and whether or not we’re achieving it,” Ringelberg said. “We are also creating a situation of disappointment. You’re experience is going to be different than the type of campus that we’re advertising, and that’s not unique to Elon. Lots of university admissions offices often advertise a campus that is more diverse than what they actually have.”

Kimberly Fath is an assessment specialist at Elon and a member of the LGBTQIA Task Force Implementation and Assessment Team. Fath spoke about some of the next steps in the initiative. As Parks mentioned, there is still a long way to go.

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Elon’s security upgraded in wake of racial incidents

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Multimedia reporting by Dalton Cox

On May 6, Elon University’s Department of Campus Safety and Police announced its efforts, in partnership with Elon’s Industrial and Campus Technologies, to deploy 64 new security cameras throughout Elon’s campus in an ongoing security upgrade.

Elon currently hosts about 440 security cameras on campus, which have been successfully used in the past to solve crimes. The current upgrade will include the instillation of 50 additional cameras, 14 license plate-reading cameras and new storage servers.

“These cameras will be placed in strategic locations, where security of people and property will be enhance,” said Dennis Franks, director of Campus Safety and Police. “Upon the completion of this project we will have 500 cameras to assist our efforts in achieving our mission of striving to maintain a safe campus environment to work, live, and learn.”

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Several Elon students expressed approval of the new camera instillation, though some were skeptical of the necessity of the upgrade.

“I don’t’ think it’s necessary, but I don’t think it’s a bad idea,” said Carrie Spicher, Class of 2016. “It’s the atmosphere of the bubble. We don’t have that many people around us. So I feel safe.”

Elon senior Nicole Costa approves of the upgrade.

“For the most part I do feel really safe,” Costa said. “I do, however, think the new security cameras are necessary, because of the recent events that have happened over this past year with people reporting slurs yelled on the street. I think it will be beneficial.”

The latest of such an incidents occurred on April 22 when a female African-American student reported that a racial slur was directed at her from passing car on Elon’s North O’Kelly Avenue.

“Using the new video cameras, we were able to identify the vehicle involved in the incident within 48 hours, and subsequently determined that the occupants of the car were Elon students,” said Smith Jackson, Elon’s dean of students. “One of the students is taking responsibility for using the slur, is remorseful, and is being held accountable to the office of student conduct.”

Spicher spoke about Elon’s campus climate and the recent incidents of racial slurs.

“Responsibility requires that we hold ourselves and each other accountable for our actions,” Jackson said.

Concealed weapons on college campuses stirs debate both at Elon and across the nation

by Dalton Cox

photo by Dalton Cox
photo by Dalton Cox

In April 2015, North Carolina legislature removed language from a bill that would allow gun owners with concealed weapons permits to bring a gun onto the property of private schools. In 2013, at least 19 states introduced laws that made allowances for concealed weapons on campuses, and in 2014, at least 14 states introduced similar legislation.

In March 2015, the Texas state Senate passed legislation that would allow concealed weapons to be carried legally on college campuses. The bill, however, must still be approved by the state House.

“Students have expressed concerns to me about their ability to protect themselves,” said the bill’s author, Sen. Brian Birdwell, reported The Associated Press. “It’s time we don’t imperil their safety.”

Several students at Elon University disagree with Birdwell’s logic.

“I would not feel safe about it if a bill of this nature was passed in North Carolina,” said Erin Valentine, Class of 2015. “I wouldn’t feel very safe if students around me could carry concealed weapons. If you’re going to carry a weapon, I should know about it because it’s my right to know.”

Julia Elleman, an Elon First Year, agrees.

“Even though they would have a permit, I don’t’ think anyone should have that control,” Elleman said. “You never know what could happen, especially on a college campus.”

Arcaro
Arcaro

Thomas Arcaro is a professor of sociology at Elon University.

“This has nothing to do with anybody’s rights,” Arcaro said. “It has everything to do with selling a particular view of the world, selling more guns and ammunition and using the massive lobby influence of the NRA to move in that direction. These types of laws would have an effect on the culture in moving it further along the path of really separating a true democracy from one that is dominated by powerful lobby influence groups like the NRA.”

Are Elon students wealthier than those at other schools?

by Dalton Cox

Elon University is sometimes stereotyped by its students as an educational haven for affluent academics. However, despite the well-manicured lawns, adorned in daffodils, and the well-manicured scholars, adorned in Lilly Pulitzer, Elon does not attract a particularly wealthier group of students than similar schools.

According to Elon Director of Financial Planning Patrick Murphy, approximately one-third of Elon’s students receive need-based aid.

“We see a significant number of students, about 10 percent, that you would call extremely high need, because they are eligible for the Pell Grant,” Murphy said. “That’s not as much as you would find in a state school, but I think that’s a pretty good amount for a school like Elon.”

Murphy also explained that approximately half of Elon students must pay off student loans after graduation.

Moore
Moore

Jamisen “Kat” Moore is an Elon First Year, who was selected to receive one of Elon’s Watson and Odyssey scholarships, which consider applicants on both merit-based and need-based criteria.

“I’m not as privileged as some of the kids here,” Moore said. “Most of my friends at Elon aren’t particularly privileged.”

Moore, however, remarked on what she perceived to me most people’s first impression of Elon.

“I’d probably think that most Elon people were upper-middle class, if I were on a tour,” Moore said.

Moore reflected on falsehood behind this common perception.

Stephanie Burke, Class of 2015, attends Elon without the assistance of finical aid. Burke observed that the stereotype often comes from the initial perceptions of Elon’s gilded student body.

“The rich kid stereotype is common because of the brand names on everything that people wear, or where they travel to, or based on where they’re from,” Burke said. “Also, I think that when people take unpaid internships in expensive cities and abroad, that’s pretty telling too.”

During her four years on campus, Burke came to realize the complexities behind this “rich kid” façade.

“I think that is a gross over estimation to call the majority of Elon kids wealthy or financially privileged,” Burke said. “There are more people than we realize that have student loans or are employed in some capacity, who depend on the paychecks they make.”

This article was written entirely by Dalton Cox. It is a portion of the collaborative article Behind the stereotype: Labels on Elon’s campus.

Elon Greek life creates communities, divides diversity

Elon's Greek Life residential area. Photo by Dalton Cox.
Elon’s Greek Life residential area. Photo by Dalton Cox.

by Dalton Cox

Fact. At Elon University in fall 2014, there were more White members of historically Black Greek organizations, than there were Black members of Panhellenic and Interfraternity organizations.

Fact. Both Elon faculty and fraternity members reported that even though fraternities frequently accept gay men, these organizations have avoided publicly advocating for their gay brothers’ civil rights.

Fact. A recent student survey, described by Elon’s Dean of Multicultural Affairs Randy Williams, included “a surprising number” of responses that characterized Elon’s Greek system as creating divisions and a more segregated approach to student life.

Fact. All students and faculty interviewed for this article reported their opinion that the benefits of the Greek system outweigh the potential negative consequences.

Digits depict system that dominates and divides

Over the past decade, Elon University has seen its enrollment increase by 23 percent. Like many other colleges and universities, Elon has also witnessed the percentage of students involved in Greek life rise as well. Approximately 40 percent of Elon undergraduates are currently members of a fraternity or sorority.

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Click here for an interactive version of this graphic 

For Elon’s fraternities, disciplinary measures imposed by the university or an organization’s national administration have slowed the increase of student membership over the past decade; however, the percentage of women who undergo the sorority recruitment process has risen 55 percent since 2005. Currently, over half of Elon’s female undergraduates are involved in Greek life. For Elon’s female population, Greek life involves the majority.

“It makes Elon feel a bit smaller,” said Shana Plasters, director of Greek life at Elon. “Students are looking for a niche, a group with which they feel comfortable. There are a lot of different ways for students to meet that need. For many, a Greek letter organization is one of those ways.”

For others, the appeal to join Greek life comes from a desire to be inducted in to an exclusive social and professional network.

“At Elon we talk about being this community,” said Randy Williams, Elon’s dean of multicultural affairs. “It sort of shut people down if they’re not in Greek life; you can’t go to a party for example, if you’re not a brother or sister in an organization or don’t have a friend there.”

The diversity of Elon’s student population is not growing at the same rate as Greek membership. Though Elon’s Hispanic community has risen approximately 3 percent in the past decade, Elon’s African-American community has decreased by about 1 percent. In Elon’s current undergraduate population, approximately 82 percent of students identify as White, 6 percent as African-American, 5 percent as Hispanic-American, and 2 percent as Asian-American.

Though diversity is less represented in Elon’s Greek system, it does not appear to be exceedingly disproportionate to the demographics of Elon’s overall student population – not until one examines diversity across individual Greek councils.

According to statistics provided by the Elon Office of Greek Life, 91 percent of students in Panhellenic and Interfraternity organizations initially identified as White. Another 3 percent of these students identified as Hispanic-American, 2 percent as Asian-American, and 4 percent as “mixed race.” Only 1 percent of these students identified as African-American. These percentages exclude members inducted in 2015. These numbers also do not represent members of Elon’s National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), which governs historically Black fraternities and sororities.

Elon hosts six organizations that are part of the NPHC, which collectively have 48 members. In fall 2015, Elon expects to welcome a new sorority, Chi Upsilon Sigma, which will celebrate Hispanic and Latina culture.

Plasters. Photo by Dalton Cox.
Plasters. Photo by Dalton Cox.

In Elon’s NPHC organizations, 90 percent of students initially identified as African-American, 4 percent as “mixed race,” 2 percent as Hispanic-American, and 2 percent as White. According to this data, in fall 2014 there where more White members of historically Black Greek organizations, than there were African-American members of Panhellenic and Interfraternity organizations.

“The more that a group is homogenous, you run the risk that they’re homogenous in their thinking,” Plasters said. “There can be challenges in particular when you talk about having empathy for others who are not necessarily just like you. There are positive aspects to homogenous groups as well. A lot of people join fraternities and sororities to find somewhere they feel comfortable, and part of that is finding people who are like you in a larger community. So what’s the balance?”

Encouraging diversity and connecting communities, ‘what’s the balance?’

Brianna Moragne, Class of 2016, identifies as African-American. During her first year at Elon, Moragne embraced the Panhellenic recruitment process, which concluded in her initiation in to Elon’s chapter of Alpha Xi Delta sorority.

“It’s the place that I felt the most at home with the people who I thought would be most like me,” Moragne said. “I think in that NPHC is a lot smaller and makes things more exclusive. Elon already being a small school, I was looking for something bigger and more involved. One of the biggest benefits of being in AXiD is having so many people that connect with you, but also having so many people that are different than you.”

Nevertheless, Moragne observed that many African-American students approach Panhellenic recruitment with more hesitancy than she did.

“Most people who identify as African American don’t feel as comfortable trying something out where the majority of the population may not look the same as them,” Moragne said. “I think those people are discouraged because they don’t see a broad representation.”

Courtney Vaughn, Class of 2015, joined the NPHC sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha as an alternative to Panhellenic organizations.

“I didn’t necessarily agree with the Panhellenic rush process, which is based on first impressions,” Vaughn said. “I didn’t feel they were not targeting me as a perspective member, but I didn’t feel I would meet the expectations required in the rush process.”

Elon's Greek Life residential area. Photo by Dalton Cox.
Elon’s Greek Life residential area. Photo by Dalton Cox.

Vaughn eventually came to admire the women in Elon’s chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, as well as the values that the organization aims to embody. She was initiated in to the sorority during her sophomore year.

Vaughn remarked that all of Elon’s Greek organizations are attempting to incorporate diversity more across councils by encouraging collaborative projects and events. Vaughn also expressed the common misconception that historically Black Greek organizations are exclusive to one ethnic group.

“We have a White girl in our chapter, and she lives by what AKA stands for,” Vaughn said. “It’s just a matter of understanding what we stand for. If that rings true with you, then why not go ahead and join?”

Growing up with a younger sibling, Vaughn understands sisterhood. She has come to value the connections that she has made in Alpha Kappa Alpha, both on-campus and worldwide. When Vaughn studied abroad in South Africa, she had the opportunity to bond with a local Alpha Kappa Alpha sister, who was culturally dissimilar but shared a common connection.

To many students that identify as an ethnic minority, NPHC organizations provide a sense of commonality and sanctuary, and reflect a past of minority accomplishment in the face of a historically segregated education system; however, to what extent does this historic segregation create divisions in contemporary academia?

Williams. Photo by Dalton Cox.
Williams. Photo by Dalton Cox.

“In a recent survey, I was surprised by the number of respondents who said that one of the salient roles of Greek life at Elon is that it creates divisions and a more segregationist approach to student life,” Williams said.

Williams is an alumnus of the NPHC fraternity Omega Psi Phi, and a supporter of NPHC organizations in Greek life.

“You can’t dismiss the relationships are formed,” Williams said. “There are some people who are just seeking that. We want to be in a setting where we can just be authentic and genuine. There’s some comfort there and some movement toward better growth and development. I think there is certainly a place for that, just like I think there’s a place in society for historically Black colleges and universities.”

Greeks shun stigma of ‘gay fraternity’

Unlike ethnic minority groups, it is impossible to determine the precise representation of LGBT students within Elon’s Greek system; however, Shana Plasters knows that this demographic is represented.

“In terms of our work in diversity, that’s probably one of the biggest areas for us,” Plasters said. “I will hear from students, ‘I’m out with my brothers, and they’re really cool with that, but my fraternity doesn’t want to be known as the gay fraternity – so they’re not going to publicly take a position – so they’re not going to publicly advocate – so they’re not going to let me be the public face of my fraternity.’ ”

Elon’s Gender and LGBTQIA Center is currently leading “ally training” workshops for Greek organizations, enabling Greek students with the skills to effectively consider the issues of LGBT individuals who are involved in Greek life or who may participate in the recruitment process.

Gianelle. Photo by Dalton Cox.
Gianelle. Photo by Dalton Cox.

Sophomore Zachary Gianelle joined Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity during his first year at Elon. Gianelle underwent the recruitment process not being entirely open about his sexuality; however, his boyfriend at the time was close to several members of the fraternity, and had recommended Gianelle participate in recruitment.

“I found out later that all the guys knew already,” Gianelle said. “I can talk about it with them. They all knew my ex. While we were dating it was all right for him to show up at a party and for us to make out in the corner or the middle of the dance floor. It didn’t matter.”

Despite finding acceptance among the members of his brotherhood, Gianelle knows that not all LGBT students may find such tolerant in Greek life.

Students must deliberately seek diversity

Caroline Anderson, Class of 2015, joined Sigma Kappa sorority during her first year at Elon.

“I don’t think that sororities discriminate based on minority groups,” Anderson said. “But what’s a sorority at Elon? It’s usually a bunch of White girls that show up to a meeting once a week.”

Anderson. Photo by Dalton Cox.
Anderson. Photo by Dalton Cox.

Anderson has intentionally made an effort during her time at Elon to bond with her peers outside of her sorority. She believes this is something that can only be achieved intentionally.

“I’ve looked for opportunities to make friends outside of Greek life,” Anderson said. “A lot of my friends in my sorority only have friends in Greek life. You don’t have to break out of that circle to have a social life, but if you want to make friends outside of that circle you do have to try.”

Shana Plasters agrees with Anderson’s statement.

“We are naturally drawn to people who are like us or to whom we see similarities and experience,” Plasters said. “You have to be intentional to break out of that. Some of our groups are better about that than others. For some, it may be about really exploring their own biases or privilege around race or sexual orientation.”

Children seek immigration status in North Carolina

Photo by Dalton Cox
Photo by Dalton Cox

by Dalton Cox

She lived in world’s murder capital

A year ago, Miriam was a 13-year-old living in San Pedro Sula, Honduras – reportedly the murder capital of the world. She would never have dreamed back then that she would be living in Durham, North Carolina, today.

At the time it was a daily struggle for her simply to attend school. She was harassed each morning by menacing gang members she could not avoid along the way. She finally resorted to taking a taxi to the private school she attended in San Pedro Sula.

Though the final stretch of her daily commute still had to be made on foot, Miriam would then likely encounter only one group of thugs before reaching her refuge. The threatening men had made a target of Miriam, often claiming they might murder her or take her as one of their wives.

Miriam knew that the gangsters’ threats were not all hollow. Two of her cousins had been members of rival gangs. As retribution for this genetic disloyalty, gangsters murdered the wives of each cousin, leaving the two men to their grief.

Hensley. Photo by Dalton Cox
Hensley. Photo by Dalton Cox

“I’ve worked on a number of cases where the gang threats have stopped children from going to school,” said Derrick Hensley, the attorney handling Miriam’s immigration case. “I’m really surprised Miriam didn’t stop going – at least, she didn’t stop going until the time that led to her coming to the United States.”

In 2013, San Pedro Sula had a homicide rate of 187 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. In April 2014, the city experienced a surge in child murders – Miriam had known several of these victims. Feeling increasingly threatened by gang violence, Miriam decided to risk the journey to the United States to be reunited with her mother, Sophia.

She almost did not survive.


Thousands of undocumented children still wait in North Carolina

Miriam is one of thousands of undocumented alien children who crossed into the United States during the immigration surge of the summer of 2014. They traveled primarily from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. She was also one of 53,518 unaccompanied minors released by the Office of Refugee Resettlement to sponsors in the United States between October 2013 and September 2014; 2,064 of those children were released to sponsors in North Carolina.

A sponsor is a parent or guardian capable of housing and providing for a child awaiting an immigration hearing. Approximately 10 percent of children who cannot identify a sponsor are placed in to federal foster care.

To maintain lawful status to reside in the United States, children typically must prove their eligibility for either asylum or special immigrant juvenile status. If children are unable to make out their claim, then they generally are unable to stay in the United States.

Scavone
Scavone

“I think that saying that these children are receiving due process might be presumptive,” said Heather Scavone, director of the Humanitarian Immigration Law Clinic (HILC) at the Elon University School of Law. “There have been instances of in absentia deportation orders for some of these kids when they have not been put on notice that they have a hearing. Also, unless they are able to pay for an attorney they don’t have a constitutional right to counsel in the same way criminal defendants do – so you have in some cases, a 9-year-old child who has to defend himself in court without an attorney.”

If a child is exceedingly fortunate, the Office of Refugee Resettlement may refer him or her to a non-profit organization that can offer social services casework or pro bono legal service.

One such organization is the Elon University School of Law’s HILC. It primarily works with individuals who have already been granted asylum or refugee status in navigating the immigration bureaucracy; however, Scavone recently traveled with several students to a Texas detainment center to provide philanthropic service.

“The work the clinic does here is pretty unique,” said Marty Rosenbluth, clinical practitioner in residence at HILC. “The reason we got involved in the immigration surge was out of broader concern for the issue.”

Another one of several organizations that provide casework for undocumented alien children in North Carolina is the social ministry organization Lutheran Services Carolinas. LSC increased its casework in 2014, from assisting approximately 50 undocumented alien children to now handling 84 cases.

“Their route to staying in the United States probably becomes much better the point where they gain advocates,” said Mary Ann Johnson, director of community relations for Lutheran Services. “They get pretty good care and are looked after.”

Photo by Dalton Cox
Photo by Dalton Cox

Bedrija Jazic is the director of refugee services at LSC. When Jazic fled Bosnia in 1996, she was in her 20s.

She explained that in the cases of refugees LSC only takes on cases referred by the Office of Refugee Resettlement, and all must be individuals at high risk. This risk may broadly encompass anything from physical abuse to posttraumatic stress-like symptoms.

“I cannot say it’s a fair process, because of the costs that this involves,” Jazic said. “I would think that we should provide more post-relief services and take care of more of the kids who are received.” 


Miriam held for ransom, finally reaches refuge 

Sophia had left Honduras in 2003. She fled in part from Miriam’s father. He was an abuser who had thrown bottles of beer in to Sophia’s face at parties, an addict who had once held a loaded gun to Sophia’s head and a member of Honduran military who would stalk and threaten Sophia after she left him.

“It is pretty well established that you can’t call the police on a member of the military or else you’re likely to get shot or put away somewhere,” Hensley said.

When Sophia sought sanctuary in the United States she left toddler Miriam in the care of relatives in San Pedro Sula. Sophia regularly sent her family financial support from abroad, but a decade passed before she would be reunited with her daughter in the United States.

Before Miriam could cross the Rio Grande, members of the Mexican criminal syndicate Los Zetas abducted her, along with several other migrants, to be held for ransom.

“They closed their eyes, so they wouldn’t see people coming and going,” Hensley said. “They heard people getting executed, and there were dead people lying about. They heard gunshots, and they were blindfolded or had their eyes covered. They could only leave the room to go to the bathroom.”

Sophia was contacted and asked to pay $3,300 for her daughter’s release. Miriam was held captive for three weeks, until her mother’s payment was received in full.

When Miriam finally reached the United States, she was taken in to the custody of the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and placed in a frigid holding cell – often referred to as the hielera, or icebox.

Now in the land of the free, Miriam’s body relinquished its strength. She was having trouble breathing. The teenager began to cough up blood and developed a serious fever. Eventually, her condition would cause her to slip in to a comma.


Undocumented children struggle to be ‘productive citizens’ in North Carolina

In July 2014, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory joined the Republican governors of Alabama, Kansas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin in signing a letter of concern, sent to President Barack Obama, regarding the border surge.

“We are concerned that there will be significant numbers who will end up using the public schools, social services and health systems largely funded by the states,” the governors wrote in arguing against the intake of too many refugees.

Derrick Hensley takes argument with this logic.

“It’s not widely disproportionate to our overall population,” Hensley said. “Durham has almost 250,000 residents, and we got about 200 unaccompanied alien children. That’s less than one tenth of one percent. It’s a highly vulnerable and needy population, but it’s sort of remarkable that people are worried that these children will bring the plague, that this is upsetting our economy, that this is a threat to our national security.”

Number of unaccompanied minors in states compared to state population. Based on information taken from the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement and the U.S. Census Bureau. Click to enlarge. Infographic by Dalton Cox
Number of unaccompanied minors in states compared to state population. Based on information taken from the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement and the U.S. Census Bureau. Click to enlarge. Infographic by Dalton Cox

Receiving mental health care and making up any educational deficit are two elements that Hensley considers to be foundationally important once children have settled in the United States.

Though it is illegal to deny children public education based on their immigration status, several reports were made in 2014 of North Carolina school districts allegedly denying undocumented children the right to enroll.

“It’s difficult to know the scope of the problem,” said Matt Ellinwood, a policy analyst for the North Carolina Justice Center’s Education and Law Project. “What’s exceptionally common was substantial delays in the process. We call it the chilling effect.”

“Chilling” describes the systematic barriers that undocumented alien children encounter when attempting to enroll in school or to receive health services. For instance, it can be especially difficult for migrant children to provide proof of residence when registering for school. Such inabilities to provide correct documentation generally take one month before they can be resolved.

“It’s extremely difficult and costly to provide the remediation needed to move people ahead,” Ellinwood said. “There’s no way to get back that time that is lost, when you face that kind of delay. The children have every right to be in school. We want to get them educated and to get them to be as productive citizens as they can be. The earlier we can get them enrolled, the more it’s going to help.”

In May 2014, the U.S. Justice and Education Departments provided updated guidelines to deter the chilling effect. These seem to have reduced the number of complaints made against North Carolina schools for denying undocumented children enrollment.

Ellinwood believes that, despite logistical tangles and deficits of individual education, the children are generally socially accepted by their classmates.

Ellinwood
Ellinwood

“These children always amaze me with how much more excepting they are than adults are,” Ellinwood said. “They’re extremely welcoming from what I’ve seen, and I’ve never heard of any negative incidents. Many migrant children are coming into the United States with better English language skills, so they’re better integrated than in years past.”

While these young people are extensively disadvantaged and face various mental health repercussions due to their challenging lives, Hensley said most unaccompanied alien children are capable of resilient progress, provided some resources. Hensley is typically in close contact with unaccompanied alien children and their families for about a year, while providing them legal service.

“I do see a change in the children over that time,” Hensley said. “They’re healthier. They’re happier. All of them attend school and make good progress eventually. Most of them tend to try very hard.”


Daughter and mother reunited in home of the brave 

Miriam spent five days in a hospital when she finally reached the United States.

When Sophia finally arrived at the hospital where Miriam was receiving care she was not allowed to see her daughter immediately because of immigration policies.

Today mother and daughter live together in Durham. Since fleeing Honduras Sophia has remarried and had two children, both of whom are United States citizens. Miriam is currently continuing her secondary education, and she is seeking special immigrant juvenile status.

To protect the individuals, the actual names of Miriam and Sophia were not used in this article.


Clinton seems likely Democratic nominee, opinion split on her potential for presidency

hillary-clinton-just-announced-her-2016-presidential-campaign

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced on April 12 in a video released on her new campaign website that she will seek the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential election. Though her nomination as the democratic nominee seems secure, the chance for the Oval Office seems to be anybody’s game.

Jason Husser, an Elon University professor of political science and policy studies, discusses Hillary Clinton’s odds on the road to the U.S. presidency.

Husser
Husser

“There probably has not ever been a presidential candidate whose record has been sifted through as much as Hillary,” Husser said. “There’s really nothing else to say. It’s almost like her nomination as the Democratic nominee has been a forgone conclusion for months now.”

In February 2015, the Elon Poll asked respondents, Hillary or Jeb Bush for president? Hillary had 46 percent of the respondents support.

“She’ll be successful because she has such a strong movement of women – just happy that a woman’s running – but I know that a lot of people aren’t necessarily happy about her running,” said Julia, an Elon First Year. “So it’s hard to say if she’ll win but I do think that she’ll have a strong movement.”

Julia asked to not provide her last name.

Elon sophomore Hayley Dalton agrees with Julia. She respects Clinton’s progression for women in politics, though she is unsure that Clinton is the presidential candidate for her.

“I think she represents a lot for women in politics, and that I support” I’m more of a conservative, fiscally – socially, not so much,” Dalton said. “I know Governor Chris Christie is thinking about the presidency, and I’m from New Jersey. I think he’s a pretty practical politician.”

Henry Crompton, an Elon senior, predicts Hillary’s failure in her campaign to the White House.

“I don’t think Hillary will be successful at all,” Crompton said. “I don’t think she’s an ideal candidate. It might be because I’m conservative leaning.”

Other local Elon community members remain nonaligned in these early stages of the forthcoming election.

“I have done some research and I feel positively neutral towards her,” said Erin Valentine, Elon Class of 2015. “I’m not sure if I would vote for her, but I wouldn’t mind seeing her as president.”