Monthly Archives: October 2012

GCU Examines Immigration During Critical Concerns Week 2012

Poster design by Nicole Way, GCU Graphic Design/Multimedia major

 

Because of impending weather, Georgian Court University is closed Monday, Oct. 29 and Tuesday, Oct. 30. Please check this page, as well as www.georgian.edu for details regarding rescheduled events. For more information, you may also contact the Office of Public Information at 732-987-2266 or gtowns@georgian.edu.

Immigration: Still a Critical Concern

October 24, 2012 (Lakewood)—When it comes to receiving a quality education in the United States, every child is important, no matter their ethnicity or country of origin, maintains Cathrine Beaunae, Ph.D., an assistant professor of education at Georgian Court University. The university, sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, will address the education issues facing immigrant children and young adults during Critical Concerns Week 2012: Immigration, Monday, October 29 through Wednesday, October 31. The events will be held in the Little Theatre on GCU’s historic Lakewood campus; admission is free and open to the public.

Critical Concerns Week 2012 begins with “Deferred Action or Deferred Dreams?” at 7 p.m. Monday with GCU sociology professor Kasturi (Rumu) Dasgupta, Ph.D. and local guest speakers, including: immigration attorney John Leschalk; immigrant rights activist from Casa Freehold and Rita Dentino; DREAM activists Veronica Fiori and Patrick Martinez; and labor rights activist Louis Kimmel.

While the focus is on immigration experiences, their well-being affects our entire nation, says Dr. Dasgupta. “Immigration policy and how immigrants and their children are treated are fundamental for the welfare of our entire society. We are a country of immigrants and policies generated for immigrants affect each of us in one way or the other. When the immigrant worker is ill-treated all workers stand to lose and when an immigrant child feels insecure it affects the climate of the entire school.”

While their panel includes a discussion of the DREAM legislation (the often-debated policy designed to support college access for undocumented young adults who came to the United States as small children) another GCU panel will examine immigration through the lens of Head Start, the nation’s largest preschool program for low-income children.

Dr. Beaunae joins Meg Saunders, executive director of the Lakewood Head Start program, for “The Importance of Educating Children of Immigrant Families,” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, October 30. She will discuss the program, where about 95 percent of the students are English language learners. “There will also be two parents who are immigrants talking about the importance of their children’s education. The parents are Spanish speakers so we will have a translator as well,” says Dr. Beaunae. “The education of all young children, especially those living at the poverty level, is crucial from the social justice stand point.”

GCU students will weigh in Wednesday, Oct. 31 at 4 p.m. with “Students and the DREAM Act.” Georgian Court student leaders Jen Valentin, Caroline Folta, Lindsay Taft and Alexis Jenkins attended the Sisters of Mercy’s 2012 Justice Immersion Program in Washington, D.C., in late May and will discuss what they learned regarding immigration advocacy and pressing national issues.

Critical Concerns Week 2012 reflects the slate of issues addressed by the Sisters of Mercy, GCU’s sponsoring organization. Each year since 2006, the McAuley Community Center at GCU has dedicated a week of scholarly study to special concerns, including women’s issues, the environment, immigration and identity, and nonviolence.

Space is limited for each event and reservations should be made by contacting the GCU Office of Conferences and Special Events, which can be reached at 732.987.2263 or specialevents@georgian.edu. Members of the press can contact the Office of Public Information at 732-987-2266 or gtowns@georgian.edu.