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Advocacy Corner

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The ADVOCACY CORNER Alert and Background Information is a collaborative effort of the Office of Community and Government Relations, The Office of Campus Ministries, and the The Ellacuría Initiative together with Catholic and Jesuit organizations and higher education associations. 

For more information about this initiative, contact community@scranton.edu or call 570-941-4419. Students interested in getting more involved in advocacy and other justice related initiatives by joining the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Ambassadors Group, can contact Club moderator, Cathy Seymour at catherine.seymour2@scranton.edu.  

During National Migration Week, Take Action to Support DREAMers

January 7-13 is National Migration Week for U.S. Catholics. With DACA scheduled to end March 5, 2018, we must urge Congress to act now to provide certainty for the nearly 800,000 DACA recipients/Dreamers who are currently working, attending college, or serving in our military.

The University of Scranton, along with many Catholic and Jesuit colleges and universities, associations and organizations, urges its students, faculty and staff to call upon Congressional members to stand in support of Dreamers by providing a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. 

For more information and to take action in support of Dreamers, visit the USCCB/Justice for Immigrants Action Alert.

Background: 

Previous Advocacy Issues

See below for issues that have been highlighted in the past and watch this page for timely updates.
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Protect Higher Education in Tax Reform #donttaxeducation

Background: Over the last few weeks, both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives have passed their own versions of tax reform, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The two bills have key differences which must now be worked out in a conference committee. Congress aims to send a final version of the bill to the President for his signature before the end of 2017. For further background on the tax reform legislation, visit the American Council on Education (ACE) website

The higher education community, including the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), has expressed concern about particular provisions in the legislation that would adversely affect University students and employees as well as charitable giving and higher education finance. As Congress considers how to reconcile the House and Senate versions of tax reform, The University of Scranton recommends advocacy utilizing guidance from ACE on the issues outlined below and encourages faculty, staff and students to share your stories about how these measures will impact you and your families. 

Campus Employees and Graduate Students: Taxing tuition waivers

“Congress needs to hear from the higher education community about the importance of tuition waivers for our employees and graduate students. The proposed House tax reform bill (H.R. 1) would repeal the tax provision (Sec. 117(d)) that permits colleges and universities to provide tax-free tuition waivers to their faculty, staff, and administrators, as well as their graduate teaching and research assistants. It would also repeal Sec. 127, which allows an employee to exclude up to $5,250 per year from estimated gross income in assistance for any type of educational course work at the undergraduate and graduate level.” (Source: ACE Action Alert)

TAKE ACTION on tuition waiver issues through the ACE action center

Charitable Giving: Reducing the value of charitable deduction 

“Congress needs to hear from students, faculty, alumni, and others who care about the future of higher education about the importance of preserving the charitable deduction in tax reform efforts. Currently, the House and Senate tax bills repeal or make significant changes to charitable deduction. We are concerned that scaling back the charitable deduction provision, while doubling the standard deduction, will significantly reduce the number of taxpayers who itemize and lead to a drop in donation to all non-profits. An estimate by the Joint Committee on Taxation predicts as much as a 40 percent drop in the number of charitable deductions under the proposed House provisions.” (Source: ACE Action Alert)

TAKE ACTION on charitable giving through the ACE action center

Other Links:

ACE Letter to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee (AJCU a signatory)
ACE Letter to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee (AJCU a signatory)

Global Refugee Crisis and Refugee Resettlement Advocacy

Please join Jesuit Refugee Service in sending a message to your elected officials that you support core American values of welcoming persecuted families and individuals who come to the U.S. to rebuild their lives in safety and dignity.

Current JRS Action Alert

Background Statements:
We Must Uphold the American Values of Opportunity and Welcome
JRS/Interfaith Coalition Statement
JRS: Barring Refugees is an Affront to American Values 

University of Scranton Activities: 
University of Scranton Refugee Solidarity Committee
Information on previous Advocacy Corner activities regarding Syrian refugee crisis

Living Wage Advocacy

Families in Northeastern Pennsylvania confront severe economic challenges, including elevated levels of unemployment and extreme poverty. While there are many families that fall below the “official” measure of poverty — the federal poverty line — there are also many who work full-time but earn less than a living wage. Individuals and families lack economic security in both cases; but the latter find themselves in an ambiguous situation, which this report seeks to clarify. To be classified as economically secure, a household must earn wages that allow its members to meet their “essential basic needs and live a modest but dignified life.” The living-wage threshold represents the amount of income required to achieve this standard of living. 

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