“This president is wildly overstepping his bounds. This is a pathetic, amateurish move on his part and I’m not going to violate somebody’s constitutional right and put the people of Middletown in jeopardy to follow an illegal order by an illegitimate president.” – Mayor Dan Drew
On January 25, Donald Trump signed an executive order that targets cities popularly referred to as “sanctuary cities.” This executive order grants the power to designate “sanctuary jurisdictions” to the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and states that any city or state with this designation will not be eligible for future federal grant money. Sanctuary cities often have a set of codes and ordinances that commit to non-enforcement of federal immigration laws.
Yesterday, The Middletown Press published an article responding to the new executive order in which Mayor Dan Drew declared Middletown a sanctuary city. This comes after Wesleyan’s declaration of its status as a sanctuary campus last fall. Read more for some choice quotes from Dan Drew about Cheeto-in-Chief:
“Our international programs, our financial aid policies and employment programs comply with all applicable Federal and State laws. However, we will object to and oppose administrative dictates that violate the law and the Constitution and, if necessary, we will work with others to do so in court.”
This morning, President Roth published a piece entitled “We Are All Immigrants!” on his blog, which detailed Wesleyan’s continued support for its “students, faculty and staff, regardless of their country of origin or their religious beliefs.” The post re-affirmed Wesleyan’s status as a Sanctuary Campus and reiterated what that means for current and future students. The post also included a continued commitment to treating undocumented students the same as U.S. citizens and permanent residents in the admissions process. This comes after yesterday’s reactions to Trump’s now-infamous ban on immigration from 7 majority-Muslim countries.
Shortly after publishing the post on his blog, President Roth sent out an all-campus email with the same text, saying that Wesleyan is confident in the legality of all its policies with respect to its international programs, financial aid policies, and employment programs, and is prepared to work with others to challenge unconstitutional dictates by the Trump administration in court. Read past the jump for the full-text of the email:
“Becoming a true sanctuary campus must be an ongoing and communal project and we urge every member of the Wesleyan community to contribute toward a collective effort to make our campus a place where international and undocumented students, faculty, and staff receive legal, physical, and emotional support.”
Ever since over 100 students walked out of class on Wednesday, November 16 to express support for a petition that pressed the Wesleyan administration to declare the university a sanctuary campus for undocumented students, the subject has been the focus of conversation for numerous groups on campus.
Several of the students who helped pen the sanctuary campus petition (which received over 1300 signatures) met with Board of Trustees members during the weekend before Thanksgiving break to discuss the proposal for the creation of sanctuary campus policies. Later that weekend, President Roth declared Wesleyan a sanctuary campus in a blog post. This made Wesleyan one of the first schools in the country to adopt the label. The post was picked up by The Atlantic, The Hartford Courant, and numerous other media outlets (yikes at The Daily Caller). Oh yeah, and it lead to this exchange between President Roth and Tucker Carlson on Fox News.
The question of what constitutes a sanctuary campus is still very much an open one. Over the break, there were conversations that called for more to be done than what was promised in President Roth’s post. One student remarked that President Roth’s blog post addressed none of the concerns around CAPS that were raised in the petition. It’s also important to note that the concerns raised in the petition regarding break housing and other medical and financial needs for undocumented students were also missing from Roth’s post. Along with many others, I share the position that Wesleyan’s status as a sanctuary campus needs to be implemented as something that lasts. This kind of lasting impact is only ever achieved through the creation of full-time paid positions, collaborations between faculty, students, staff, and the administration, and other factors that outlast the infamous institutional memory purge.
Many members of the faculty, while in solidarity with the decision made by President Roth, think there is more to be done to establish Wesleyan as a sanctuary campus. Seventy-six members of the faculty signed a letter to President Roth, the Board of Trustees, and the Wesleyan community calling for a series of measures that they think will better establish Wesleyan as a sanctuary campus. Read past the jump for the full text of the letter.
I sometimes really wished I watched cable news. You know, among a life of reading, work, class, essays, and more at a Liberal University™, I feel like I somehow miss out on the rather illuminating shows on channels like Fox News. For anyone who might not know, Fox News is that one cable news channel that employs an anchor that declares that, you know, poverty isn’t all that bad because poor people have fridges. It is also the cable news channel that was founded and run by a sexual predator for 20 years. I am so checked out from the channel that I don’t notice when Evil Presidents of Liberal Universities™ are featured as guests (fodder for conservative viewers sitting on their couch in South Carolina eating spaghetti-o’s?).
Monday night, students gathered in the DFC to attend What’s next: an open town hall about campus organizing, a discussion dedicated to discussing campus organizing and community action. The open town hall was organized by Jordan White ’19 and Kazumi Fish ’19. In the Facebook event description, the organizers said that the event was an intentional space for people new to campus organizing and others who have been involved in campus activism for longer to come together and learn from one another. Part of the description read:
Drawing on the impact of last month’s WhoRunsWes community meeting, we want to hold a similar space for people to vent and share their ideas about campus organizing and community action. We want to bring together those who have always done this work with those who wish to begin.
The description also listed clear goals of what the town hall hoped to accomplish:
“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.
Courtesy of Ginger Hollander ’20
[Update: Thursday, 11/17/16, 11:19AM]
The petition demanding that Wes become a Sanctuary Campus now has over 1100 signatures!!
If you’ve been on Facebook or Twitter at some point in the last week, you’ve probably seen a few postings about “sanctuary campuses” popping up here and there. After Donald J. Trump’s presidential win on a campaign platform that heavily targeted immigrants, especially those that are undocumented, there is a significant amount of unease in immigrant communities all over America. Currently, undocumented students have temporary protection from deportation through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that President Obama H’08 put into place. However, Trump is expected to repeal this executive order. What will President-elect Donald Trump’s first move be? Given how often he has changed his mind on policy issues, just how much danger are immigrants really in? How will his policies affect undocumented students? What are sanctuary campuses, and why do they matter here at Wes? Read on after the jump to find out.