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