Our university cannot often say it is ahead of the curve when it comes to social causes. We are not usually associated with activism, nor are we well-known for being at the forefront of political movements. That changed yesterday when a petition was delivered to the president at Hullihen Hall that urges the university to become a sanctuary to undocumented members of the university community.
President Assanis has expressed support for the petition. He also signed a separate petition alongside leaders of other universities which reaffirms the university’s support for the current federal attitude towards these students. If he were to commit to the actions expressed within, then the university would become one of a handful of campuses nationwide to embrace the status of “sanctuary campus.”
Many have become afraid that President-elect Donald Trump will make good on his vow to revoke the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order, which was signed into law by President Obama after an influx of undocumented child immigrants in 2013. Under DACA, many children in the country illegally gave their information to the government in good faith in order to obtain an education. The revocation of the executive order would likely be followed by a crackdown against these individuals.
This has the potential to disrupt campus life severely. Regardless of their residency status at the federal level, some undocumented individuals reside on our campus and are part of our community. They are our friends, our classmates and our academic colleagues. While we must respect federal law, we must also take action to protect our community.
In addition to the issue of safety, it would be remiss of us to ignore the contributions undocumented students make to our community. Diversity of students breeds diversity of ideas. As our university pursues academic excellence, it is this diversity of ideas that will continue to introduce fresh and innovative ideas into our dialogues. Although the main goal of being a sanctuary is to provide safety to the vulnerable, we should not ignore the benefits they offer in enriching our campus community.
These students are just like us. They want an education, just like we do. They want to feel safe, just like we do. They are part of the community, just as we are. We should not treat them like second-class citizens. The Review stands alongside those who signed the sanctuary campus petition below in affirming our support for the undocumented members of our community.
Editorials are developed by The Review staff, led by Editorial Editor Jacob Orledge.