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Colorado AG Denies Tuition-Break for DREAMers; Funds Cut for Chicago Anti-Violence Youth Initiative

Colorado Attorney General Blocks Tuition DREAM. Colorado Attorney General John Suthers Tuesday blocked state schools from providing discounted tuition to undocumented students without legislative approval. Suthers decision comes on the heels of Metropolitan State College of Denver’s historic decision to grant a tuition remission to undocumented students, which would offset the failed attempt by the state’s legislature to pass a bill that would have provided said rates for qualified students. Suthers ruled against the school’s decision, as he said it created a “public benefit”, which under state law is only given to individuals who can prove legal presence in the United States. Suthers, though, did not bar the Legislature from taking up similar action in the future; saying, “The General Assembly may continue to consider this issue,” Suthers said in a statement. “In the meantime, however, state-supported institutions of higher education in Colorado cannot act unilaterally. Under federal law they must await a decision by the legislature.” Members of the board at the school, though, feel that the AG is contorting state law to support his personal beliefs, and not citing actual law. “The AG crafted a legal position on Metro State tuition rate to support his ideological & political beliefs, not the law,” said board of trustees member Terrance Carroll via Twitter. The challenge to Metro State’s tuition rate came from fellow higher education stalwarts, the Colorado Community College System, as they wanted to establish a similar rate and wanted the AG’s opinion before doing so. [The Denver Post]

 Chicago Anti-Violence Youth Campaign Seeks Much-Needed Funding. In response to the spike in violence amongst youth in Chicago in recent months, Chicago Public Schools’ anti-violence initiative has pleaded for funding for expansion. The Youth Advocate Programs run by the school board help provide mentors and interventions for young men and women that need it most– those who are at high risk to fall victim to gang activity, as well as other violent endeavors. Ron Huberman established the programs in 2009 after the death by beating, of a former student, Derrion Albert. The agency, though, has seen their funding slashed by $2 million this year, and now is in desperate need of added funding sources. The program, which received $1.2 million to offer programs to 400 children through the summer months, was criticized for being too costly, and was therefore slashed at the hands of the legislature this session. The loss of up to $700 million in stimulus package grants to the school system led to further cuts in the Safe Haven programs, which were offered through local churches in the city. That program saw $665,000 in cuts, leaving mere 60 churches offering some sort of help to the youth of Chicago. “The city of Chicago has a moral responsibility to protect its children, protect its young people,” said Cy Fields, who is the senior pastor at New Landmark Missionary Baptist Church. Since the group’s founding in 2009, Youth Advocate Associates has touted it’s high success rates among the 563 students it has worked with, David Williams, who serves as the group’s regional director, cites the group’s success in helping it’s participants get through high school, and keeping the majority safe from the violence in the city. “When you have violence in these communities, things can happen,” Williams said. [The Chicago Tribune]

Jackson Health Care Company Gets High Regards for LGBT Treatment. A recent survey pushed by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation listed 71 organizations that remain trailblazers in providing equal treatment to LGBT patients and families. The survey, entitled “Leaders in LGBT Healthcare Equality," cited Jackson Health Systems as a leader in it’s care of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender patients and their families, in terms of patient and employment non-discrimination, visitation and staff training. “We are proud that Jackson Health System is once again being praised for treating all of our patients equally, with one standard of quality care,” Chief Executive Carlos Migoya said in a prepared statement. The Jackson Health Systems group was one of only three Florida-based groups to be mentioned in the survey, with Baystate Health of Springfield, Massachusetts ranking atop the list. Several years ago Jackson Health Systems was sued by a cruise ship passenger for not allowing her to see her gay partner when she died. Jackson staff insisted had not been a case of LGBT discrimination, and the suit was thrown out. [The Miami Herald]

Christopher Boan is a journalism intern with Campus Progress.

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