UC Merced chancellor visits DC, discusses immigration with congressional leaders

University of California, Merced chancellor Dorothy Leland, speaks with media before a Health Care Access Summit on Friday, June 22, 2018.
University of California, Merced chancellor Dorothy Leland, speaks with media before a Health Care Access Summit on Friday, June 22, 2018.

Dorothy Leland made her way to Capitol Hill this week for the first convening of the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration.

Leland is a founding member of the alliance, which spent Monday engaging with immigration policy analysts, coalition leaders, research, legal experts and policymakers in strategic conversation.

The group was founded by college and university chancellors and presidents in November 2017 in an effort to increase public understanding of how immigration policies and practices impact higher education students, campuses and communities. Leland represents the UC system on the steering committee.

The meeting was held just days after the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 was introduced. The bill would provide Dreamers a pathway to citizenship. California Representative Lucille Royal-Allard — the lead sponsor of the Dream and Promise Act of 2019 — provided the keynote address at the meeting.

With nearly 600 undocumented students, UC Merced has the highest percentage of enrollment in the UC system. “It is crucial that we continue to support Dreamers and their families who pursue higher education as a way to facilitate social mobility,” Leland said.

“The convening of the alliance demonstrates the higher education community’s commitment to developing effective strategies to advocate, educate and work with policymakers on the vital role immigration plays in our country’s current and future success and protect the incredible students and scholars who have chosen to make the United States home.”

‘All the World’s a Stage’ with Shakespeare in Yosemite’s 3rd Annual Production

William Shakespeare’s plays are meant to be enjoyed by a live, theater audience and there is no better place to experience The Bard than Yosemite National Park.

For the third year, UC Merced is bringing Shakespeare’s wit and wisdom to audiences in a natural setting, similar to the forest that inspired the playwright’s own writings. Yosemite National Park will be transformed into the Forest of Arden where students, faculty, park rangers and community members will perform “As You Like It” — one of Shakespeare’s pastoral comedies — with a twist.

Shakespeare in Yosemite takes place in late April to coincide with Earth Day, which is also believed to be Shakespeare’s birthday. In keeping with UC Merced’s mission of protecting the environment, the Shakespeare scholars who adapt the play incorporate environmental teachings.

This year’s focus is on the long-term effects of human life on nature and the play highlights UC Merced scientists’ research on climate change and wildfires. The play has been adapted by English Professor Katherine Steele Brokaw of UC Merced and Professor Paul Prescott of the University of Warwick, in England.

“We love the idea that people are coming to see new possibilities for Shakespeare they didn’t know could be performed by a cast of mainly women, people of color, and young people,” said Brokaw. “Our goal is also to talk about the environmental and ecological messages for Earth Day and we find Shakespeare is a great vehicle for that.”

In “As You Like It” characters take on modern day titles and roles, such as the evil Duke Frederick who is reimagined as a company man with no interest in preserving the environment.

Other characters are city dwellers who eventually make their way to the forest where they find themselves charmed by new love interests and the forest itself. The production includes a special performance by Lisa Wolpe, an established Shakespearean actress who appeared as Puck in last year’s performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

The play, which includes a musical component, will also feature The Sonnet Man for the second year in a row. His take on Shakespeare includes performing a sonnet set to rap music and what Brokaw calls a “hip-hop environmental piece” during the 90-minute play.

UC Merced’s performances of “As You Like It” in Yosemite National Park are free and open to the public from April 26-28.

UC Merced Connect is a collection of news items written by the University Communications staff. To contact them, email