President Roth Declares Wesleyan A Sanctuary Campus

“Through our alumni networks, we are also putting together legal resources for members of the Wesleyan community with questions concerning their immigration status.”

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Last week, in solidarity with walk-outs around the country to demand college campuses declare themselves sanctuary campuses, over a hundred students walked out of class and gathered in Usdan to read a petition demanding that Wesleyan become a sanctuary campus. The petition garnered over 1300 signatures within just a few days. You can read more about what a sanctuary campus is and the recent efforts at Wesleyan here.

Several students who organized around the petition met with the Board of Trustees and President Roth this weekend to discuss the possibility of Wesleyan becoming a sanctuary campus. On Wednesday, President Roth said in a blog post (that was cited by CNN and Quartz) that he would be discussing the petition with the Trustees this weekend. Tonight, in another blog post entitled “Wesleyan University a Sanctuary Campus,” President Roth said that Wesleyan will be dedicating resources to provide legal support to undocumented students, and declaring that Wesleyan will not voluntarily assist federal officials in deportations.

Here is the full text of the post:

Across the country, many are calling for their universities to become sanctuary campuses. The model is the “sanctuary city,” like Austin, New York City, Chicago and dozens of other municipalities, which have declared their intention not to cooperate with federal officials seeking to deport residents simply because they lack appropriate immigration documentation.

Having spoken with students, faculty and staff over the last week, and having conferred with the Board of Trustees, I think it very important to declare that Wesleyan University is a sanctuary campus. For us, this means the following:

  • Wesleyan will remain committed to the principles of non-discrimination, including equal protection under the law, regardless of national origin or citizenship.
  • Wesleyan will not voluntarily assist in any efforts by the federal government to deport our students, faculty or staff solely because of their citizenship status.

As we say in our webpages, we will continue to “welcome all undergraduate applicants regardless of citizenship status.  Undocumented students, with or without Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), who apply to Wesleyan will continue to be treated identically to any other U.S. citizen or permanent resident in their high school.”

Through our alumni networks, we are also putting together legal resources for members of the Wesleyan community with questions concerning their immigration status. We will facilitate connections to these resources and other support services, as we work with appropriate offices and constituency groups on campus.

These are small steps, to be sure, in the face of a very frightening wave of threats to roll back the civil rights gains made in recent decades. But we will stand up and take these steps; we will do our best to protect our community, and we will gather resources to enable all its members, regardless of citizenship status, to continue to have opportunities to thrive here.

According to Movimiento Cosecha, the organization that sparked the movement for national student walkouts last Wednesday, Reed College and Portland State were the first in the nation to declare themselves sanctuary campuses. Wesleyan joins them today and the cities of New Haven and Hartford in declaring that we will not assist any federal agency in deportations of undocumented students.

  • DavidL

    Two days ago I posted the following comment at the Argus article on Sanctuary Campus. It has been “pending” since posted, so apparently the Argus has decided not to publish it it.

    “A sanctuary campus? Not sure exactly how that works, but if Roth wants one, fair enough.

    My question is, where the sanctuary campus was while the Obama administration has been deporting people by the hundreds of thousands every year?

    It has been widely reported that the Obama administration has deported 2.5 million people through seven years. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics… That is a half million more than Bush deported in eight.

    According to this article, 91% of the people Obama deported had been convicted of a crime in the United States.

    Has the election of Trump changed all this so much that Wesleyan now needs to be a “sanctuary?” Might it be helpful to wait until Trump actually takes office and sets his policy?

    I hope I’m wrong, but I smell pandering. And it’s the stinky kind of pandering, a reaction to partisan pressure. But I may be wrong. I would more likely to think so if someone explained to me why this policy was not needed for the 2.5 million that Obama sent home.”

    Come to Wesleyan and prepare for a career in censorship.

  • Knoxville

    What an idiot! This flaming liberal is going to get his University in a serious bind! How about following the LAW? Wesleyan Board of Trustees need to get rid of this guy. Sanctuary Campus? Yea, this is where I want my kid to go!

    • Harrison

      What the fuck are you talking about? Sanctuary campus means you don’t voluntarily cooperate. Voluntary cooperation =/= legal compulsion. Wes ain’t breaking any laws. Take your anger elsewhere.

      • Knoxville

        You little pukes without the likes of myself and other Vets you would not have the privilege of being a pussy!

        • Harrison

          Hey, I’m not dissing your service at all. I’m grateful to veterans like yourself. But you complained that the University is breaking the law, and the fact is that it’s not. It’s just taking a stance that you disagree with.