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Fostering Safety, Inclusion and Justice for Immigrant, Refugee, and Other Vulnerable Students

Expansions Vol 1

An important highlight of Marsal School’s dije-related programming during the 2016-17 school year was a colloquium on Fostering Safety, Inclusion and Justice for Immigrant, Refugee, and Other Vulnerable Students, which Marsal School and the U-M Law School co-sponsored. 


The colloquium, held on March 24, was an event organized to advance our dije commitments and respond to community needs during our tense and uncertain political times. It was also an event that followed up on a SOE Community Conversation event held in February on the same topic, which nearly 50 students, staff, and faculty members attended. The March Colloquium featured a panel of student, staff, and faculty speakers who drew upon their professional expertise, and in some cases their first-hand experiences, with immigration matters in education, law, policy, and everyday life. The panelists offered powerful insights that spurred a provocative and educative dialogue about pressing educational, political, and legal issues related to federal initiatives targeting undocumented immigrants and calling for travel bans, border walls, and increased deportation efforts. Panelists also shared critical perspectives about developing practical strategies that educators can enact for supporting PreK-12 and postsecondary students in our community who have been immediately affected by the recent, federal initiatives and policies.

dije Panelists

Panelist Dr. Debi Khasnabis asserted that: “The reality is their (students’) safety needs to be the first priority, and I think there should be really thoughtful care on how we navigate this conversation with community members. We should not be making any of these decisions, any of these plans, without talking to people who are living through these real risks.” In addition, Dr. Mark Kamimura-Jimenez acknowledged that, at U-M, “the way in which we think about diversity and inclusion have been challenged,” further stating, “Michigan is being challenged with embodying the true definitions of inclusion, like what does it mean to really be in an inclusive space?” Student panelists Mr. Nasr Abdo and Ms. Christian Martell both emphasized the necessity of turning thoughtful conversations into action. While Dr. Bridgette Carr added that “those of us who are privileged to have resources need to figure out ways to bridge that gap for those who don’t.”

We would like to thank and recognize our panelists! Panelists pictured (from left to right):
Dr. Mark Kamimura-Jimenez, Assistant Dean of Rackham Graduate School
Mr. Nasr Abdo, master's student in Educational Studies
Ms. Christian A. Martell, doctoral student in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education
Dr. Debi Khasnabis, Clinical Assistant Professor of Education
Dr. Bridgette Carr, Clinical Professor of Law and the Founding Director of the U-M Law School Human Trafficking Clinic

The SOE dije leadership team looks forward to continuing programming and supporting equity-oriented action on these matters in the coming academic year. A video of the colloquium and a resource guide that SOE community members can use to assist students can be accessed at the links below.

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The Marsal Family School of Education is proud to be a leader in the campus-wide initiative promoting Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. Adding "Justice" to these values underscores the role of educators in the creation of just societies. Through research, public scholarship, community building, and the preparation of education practitioners and policymakers, we articulate and advance our dije agenda.