Dr. Terry-Ann Jones hosts book signing and talk to discuss the role of Jesuit institutions in the lives of undocumented students
“It is important for us to see these students not as victims, but rather as agents who are willing to work hard and take risks in order to improve their lives."
— Dr. Terry-Ann Jones, Professor of Sociology
Fairfield University sociology professor Terry-Ann Jones, PhD, will bring the hot-button issue of immigration to the forefront of higher education during her upcoming author talk and book signing at the University’s downtown bookstore on Thursday, September 14, at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and will take place on the second floor of the store, located at 1499 Post Road in Fairfield.
In her latest book, Undocumented and in College: Students and Institutions in a Climate of National Hostility, Dr. Jones and co-editor Laura Nichols, PhD, associate professor of sociology at Santa Clara University, detail the personal experiences of undocumented students as they navigate the process of entering, and later thriving, in Jesuit universities. Cutting across the fields of immigration policy, religion, law, and education, the collection utilizes an interdisciplinary approach to delineate the historical and present-day contexts of immigration, as well as the legal and moral issues surrounding the role that Jesuit higher education plays in the lives of undocumented immigrants.
“The quiet presence of undocumented students on Jesuit campuses and their contribution to the diverse identities and experiences that these institutions value makes their story an important one to tell,” said Dr. Jones. “Once I recognized the richness of the data we had collected and the need for the public and academic community to better understand the experiences of these students, I knew we had to develop this collection.”
Based on an extensive two-year study conducted from 2010 to 2012 by a team of researchers from Fairfield University, Santa Clara University, and Loyola Chicago, Undocumented and in College incorporates a compelling mix of survey research and in-depth student interviews with insightful contributions from faculty members and administrators working within the Jesuit institutions they attend. As the chapters divulge the experiences of undocumented students in their own words, the book reveals their hopes and fears as they are positioned at universities that are generally welcoming, but located in a hostile political climate where trust is a risk.
“As an immigrant and a scholar of migration, what resonates with me most about this subject is the determination and fortitude that it takes for undocumented students to access and complete a university education, especially amidst uncertainty regarding whether they will be able to use their education toward their careers or even remain in the United States,” Dr. Jones said. “I’m looking forward to sharing my perspectives on the richness that undocumented students add to universities and their larger communities, as well as stories from the students themselves.”
In addition to recognizing the contributions that undocumented students make to the university community, Dr. Jones is hopeful that her book and upcoming author talk will help people view this population in a new light.
“It is important for us to see these students not as victims, but rather as agents who are willing to work hard and take risks in order to improve their lives and the lives of their families,” she said. “It is my hope that the stories and surveys in this book demonstrate the selflessness that these individuals express in their commitment to caring for their families.”