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Maine College Presidents Decry Trump Decision To End DACA

Some of Maine’s higher education officials are opposing President Donald Trump’s decision to phase out DACA, although the state’s largest institution — the University of Maine system — is reacting more cautiously.

The presidents of Bates, Colby and Bowdoin Colleges all issued statements opposing Trump’s policy, with varying degrees of condemnation. Bowdoin President Clayton Rose called it "a profoundly disappointing decision." Bates President Clayton Spencer called it "self-defeating."

But the message from the University of Maine system was less critical. In a carefully worded press statement, system board chairman James Erwin said the uncertainty Trump’s proposal might cause for students was “important to us all.” And he said the board was hopeful Congress would act to bring certainty for those who “seek to better themselves by lawfully pursuing a Maine public higher education.”

A system spokesman said presidents of individual campuses would not speak to the media on the issue. But some students did.

“We are going to be losing a lot of great potential Americans,” said Samuel Borer, a physics and math major at the Orono campus and a student representative to the Board of Trustees.

Borer said the board’s statement is softer than what the private schools are saying.

“But because we are a state university and we get a lot of funding from the state and also serve the state of Maine, we have to be a little bit more neutral.”

In a recent system survey, fewer than 10 students self-reported having DACA status. How many might be attending without reporting that status is unknown.

Meanwhile, the federal government reports that nearly 100 people in Maine have received temporary residency documents through DACA since 2012.