Following Donald Trump’s shocking victory last week, student meltdowns have taken place at colleges across the country. From scheduled “cry-ins” to post-election safe spaces with bubbles, Legos and Play-Doh, you would think you’d seen it all, but there’s more. Some students are demanding their colleges become “sanctuary campuses” to protect illegal immigrants from the immigration crackdown that President-elect Trump has promised.
At Yale University, students created a petition urging the university administration “to take immediate steps to make Yale University a sanctuary campus for students, staff, and their family members who face deportation under President-elect Donald J. Trump’s proposed policies.”
“Given that many students and their family members now live in fear of Donald Trump’s deportation threats, we call upon the University to immediately develop a protocol for making itself a sanctuary campus. Yale has promised to be a home for all of us. A home is supposed to be safe. We owe it to the most vulnerable members of our community to do our utmost,” states the petition. “If we do nothing, then our stated commitments to diversity, justice, and inclusion will reveal themselves to be empty promises and hypocritical lies. At this moment, we cannot afford silence.”
Faculty and students at Brown University also drafted a letter to their administration asking that the campus be converted into a sanctuary for illegal immigrants.
“We write with some urgency to request that you investigate the possibility of our campus serving as a sanctuary for our students, our staff members and their family members who face imminent deportation,” the letter reads. “It may give comfort to those, especially within the Brown community, who are frightened and unsure about their future and safety.”
University of Wisconsin students also jumped on the sanctuary campus bandwagon by creating a petition calling on the university “to implement a plan to declare our campus a sanctuary for undocumented and DACAmented students, staff, and their family members who face imminent deportation.”
The Daily Campus reports that at a rally on Nov. 9, students at the University of Connecticut released a list of four demands they expect the college to adopt:
1) That the university release a statement in support of the rights of undocumented students, people of color, Muslims and the LGBT community by 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 11.
2) That UConn will become a legal sanctuary for undocumented students and their families by the end of the calendar year.
3) That UConn will release an action plan for what will happen if an undocumented student is deported, including how the university will handle their credits, financial aid and any money they have paid for tuition/room and board if they are forced to leave mid-semester.
4) That UConn will divest from products made with prison labor, which financially supports mass incarceration and the criminalization of people of color.
Students at Harvard University took their petition a step further, demanding the university immediately hire both a head and assistant Dean of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and equip them with the necessary funding and infrastructure. They also demanded the university “institute an Office for Undocumented Student Support to serve as a resource center for undocumented students,” and “significantly increase the percentage of tenured faculty of color, specifically those teaching courses related to Ethnicity, Migration, and Rights, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.”
The students also used the petition to demand that university courses “should engage with the undocumented experience in a way that does not place the burden of instruction on undocumented students.”
“We do not need words of comfort, your pity, or your sympathy. We need action that demonstrates this University’s dedication to concretely support all of its students, regardless of their immigration status,” the petition concludes. “We need action now, and we will be following up diligently with Harvard community members, including students, faculty, alumni, and you, the administration.”