Roseman Defends Refugee Decision

Kristina Rodriguez ’19, Features Editor

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Plans for Dickinson’s participation in Every Campus a Refuge, a program that calls upon college campuses to provide space for one refugee family to live during their resettlement, have stalled due to an apparent lack of space on campus.

Director of Center for Service, Spirituality and Social Justice Donna Hughes, who is part of a team working to include Dickinson in Every Campus a Refuge acknowledges that being a member of this program would be a substantial commitment on Dickinson’s part, but it would be a worthwhile experience.

According to Hughes, it is possible that in the future Dickinson will sign on and participate in Every Campus a Refuge, though the resources are not currently aligned. “It takes a while to get everything in place for a school to be part of the program and make the commitment to feed and house a family. I am hopeful that our school will sign on,” says Hughes.

Nora Krantz ’18 initially proposed the initiative to Hughes and President Nancy Roseman. She says, “If the school sees that the student body and community is pushing for it I don’t see how they could really refuse…I want to get the community awareness first and then ask again…that might have more of an impact.” Popular demand for Dickinson’s involvement from students may persuade Dickinson administrators to become involved in a collaboration with Every Campus a Refuge.

Roseman released a statement saying, “I had hoped we could participate, but when I brought this program to senior staff we quickly concluded that we don’t have any appropriate college space that would allow us to be part of the program.” Housing resources are limited due to the large first-year class, for whom the college is currently building more housing to accommodate.

“With the large first year class, we converted spaces that we normally use for guest housing… into regular housing or program space.  Those spaces could have worked well for the program, but unfortunately they are not available,” says Roseman.

This opportunity could potentially be educational for Dickinsonians, as emphasized on Every Campus a Refuge’s website: “the campus, working across its various silos and in collaboration with its local community, welcomes not just a family but the ‘real world’ into its proverbial ‘bubble.’”

Several administrators and students are on board with getting involved in Every Campus a Refuge, but the lack of space available to house a refugee family and sustain the abnormally large number of students seems to be stalling the initiative.