NYU Dream Team Stages Walkout, Demands a Clean Dream Act

Student activists from multiple campus groups came together to draw attention to the issue.

NYU Dream Team and supporters marching down University Place.

The NYU Dream Team staged a walkout on Thursday afternoon to demand a Clean Dream Act by the end of the year. Beginning at the steps of Kimmel and ending at Union Square Park, the Dream Team and 17 other campus activist organizations marched to make their message clear.

The goal of the walkout was primarily to show the urgency of the issue to push Congress to pass a Clean Dream Act by December. The NYU Dream Team largely emphasized the “clean” element of their demands — “clean” meaning complete protection for undocumented youth with no dangerous add ons or implementing extra DACA restrictions.

For example, Senator Chuck Schumer and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi have said in a joint statement that they would be willing to “work out a border security package” that could include drones around the southern borders.

For the Dream Team that is a non-starter.

“It’s our responsibility as students to harness our collective power and fight for a Clean Dream Act,” said one representative of NYU Dream Team. “We’re organizing today around DACA because it is a crucial, time-sensitive matter, but we want to be all-inclusive of the undocumented community as a whole and show that we are not buying into this specific narrative of the good immigrant — that you have to have specific skills or qualities to be recognized as someone worthy to enter this country.”

Another NYU Dream Team member stated that through this demonstration, they were holding the government accountable, not compromising their values and not allowing the political administration to jeopardize their communities.

Speakers at the rally included members of the NYU Muslim Students Association, LUCHA at NYU, NYU Dream Team and others.

One woman, while passing the demonstators in Union Square Park, shouted, “You DREAMers deserve to be here! Don’t know why you’d want to, but you’re welcome,” and strutted away to a flurry of applause.

Supporters chanting down University Place.

Historically led by black, Latinx and queer activists, walkouts have been a common form of protest for decades. The East L.A. 1968 walkouts, the 2006 Los Angeles United School District (LAUSD) walkouts and many others signified a shift in the way activists raised awareness for their issues.

The NYU Dream Team stated that they wanted the demonstation to highlight this historical precedence as well as upend the assumption that this issue is affecting Latinx individuals only.

“In New York City more than 20 percent of the undocumented community is Asian,” a representative said. “In the last month there’s been mass deportation of Cambodian immigrants and no one is talking about it.”

Joshua Loftus, an assistant professor of statistics at NYU Stern expressed his frustration and disgust at the current political climate.

“We and the NYU community have received emails from President Hamilton talking about how the university supports DREAMers and as a faculty member I wanted to be vocal and show students I support the Clean Dream Act,” Loftus said.

Other faculty members also came out to support the NYU Dream Team and the NYU DREAMers, all expressing their outrage towards the threats President Trump has made to rescind DACA.

“I call on my fellow faculty to also vocally state their support for DREAMers,” added Loftus. “Because I can think of fewer greater disruptions to learning than the threat of deportation. A walkout or protest is nothing in comparison to that.”

On Nov. 30, NYU Dream Team and other campus activist groups will be hosting Contra Cuentos (Counter-Narratives), an event highlighting performances and art from artists in the undocumented and immigrant community. They also host weekly meetings on Thursdays that are open to new members.

Editor's note: Members of NYU Dream Team requested to not be identified in this article.