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Students and staff rally for sanctuary campus support

Students and faculty members showed support for making BGSU a sanctuary campus at a rally outside of the McFall Center this afternoon. 

The purpose of the rally was to gain the attention of Faculty Senate members before their 2:30 p.m.  meeting. The rally was organized through a public Facebook event.

Although the term sanctuary campus does not have a specific legal definition, ethnic studies professor Michaela Walsh described it as a space where undocumented students currently protected by the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy are safe from being deported. 

“I will fight for this to become a reality,” Walsh said at the rally.

Participants lined the sidewalk leading up to the McFall Center as they waited for the Faculty Senate meeting to begin, which was open to the public. Many could be seen holding signs.

The movement to make the University a sanctuary campus became official when Walsh created a web petition for the cause. As of the present moment the petition has acquired 369 signatures out of its goal of 1,000.

A public forum was also held on January 12 at Grounds for Thought to help educate people about the sanctuary campus movement.  Walsh spoke at the forum, along with her colleague, who is also an ethnic studies professor at the University.

“The school is in a difficult position right now, but I hope that President Mazey knows how important this issue is—not only in the lives of undocumented students, but in the lives of all students,” ethnic studies professor Louis Moreno said at the rally. “We want the campus to be safe and inclusive for everyone.”

After learning about the rally at the public forum, junior Neiko Alvarado attended the event today because he felt strongly about the cause.

“I am here because I am a second generation Latino-American, and I recognize that America is made great by the contributions of immigrants,” Alvarado said. “I think we have an obligation to protect undocumented students.”

Francisco Cabanillas, a Caribbean and U.S. Latino culture and literature professor, attended the rally and expressed concern for students in this situation.

“I am terrified for those students who have outed themselves as undocumented. They now risk being deported under the Trump administration,” he said.

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