Students to hold rally in favor of sanctuary campuses

By Keefe Watson and By Keefe Watson

As a petition to make the University a sanctuary campus circles among students and staff, a rally will be held outside McFall before the Faculty Senate’s regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday.

According to Michaela Walsh, an ethnic studies professor, a sanctuary campus is a space where students who are currently protected under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy remain protected from possible deportation.

The rally to show support for the making of a sanctuary campus will be held this Tuesday from 2:10 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. outside of the McFall Admissions Building. It is being organized via a public Facebook event.

The rally’s goal is to gain the attention of the president’s office and Faculty Senate members before the group’s meeting in the McFall Gallery at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

A public forum to spread the word about the sanctuary campus movement was hosted yesterday at Grounds for Thought on Main Street. Walsh did not organize the event, but she did speak at it.

Walsh informed attendees about what it means for the University to become a sanctuary campus and how students and the community can become involved.

Sophomore Makayla Morgan attended the open forum event yesterday after seeing a news article about it circulating on Facebook.

“I attended primarily because of my own passion for inclusion and diversity,” Morgan said. “But I also went to ensure that I had a strong grasp on how the conversation surrounding the topic currently looks so that I could begin to speak in support of the petition to the activist circles that I have connections to.”

The effort went public on Nov. 22, 2016 with the electronic petition written by Walsh.

The petition is aimed to grasp the attention of President Mazey, The Board of Trustees and Faculty Senate. As of today the petition has 340 signatures, with a goal of 1,000.

“The petition will need to be signed by as many people as possible,” Morgan said. “Our students will need to mobilize to show to President Mazey their physical support of the sanctuary campus, and we will need to begin creating a culture of security for those protected under the petition to best enact its goals.”

Walsh’s hope is for the University to be made a sanctuary campus where law enforcement officers looking for undocumented persons would need a warrant before coming on campus.

“I got involved in it because I want to be an ally to those individuals who are compromised right now,” Walsh said.

President Mazey has issued a press statement regarding this movement. She is aware of the circulating petition, but it has not yet been officially submitted to the University.

“When the proposal is received, it will be reviewed,” the statement says.

President Mazey has, however, along with many other Ohio public school presidents, signed a letter of support for the Bridge Act currently before the US Senate. If this bill is passed and signed into law, it would offer additional protections for students admitted under DACA.

Currently, DACA provides protection for immigrants who, among other criteria, came to the country illegally before their sixteenth birthday, are in school or have obtained a high school education, and have little to no criminal record.

Individuals who have opted to be protected under DACA have made the decision to willingly “out” themselves and have given the government their personal information. However, during his campaign Donald Trump said he would immediately repeal DACA, Walsh said.

Walsh and others involved in the effort were hoping that a resolution to make the University a sanctuary campus would be discussed during the next Faculty Senate meeting on Tuesday Jan. 17, but it will instead likely be discussed during the Faculty Senate meeting on Feb. 7.

In the meantime, Walsh encourages those in support of the effort to circulate information, including the petition, around social media.

“Students have a huge voice in the University,” Walsh said.

Specifics about Walsh’s petition follow.

“We, the undersigned, believe the Trump administration’s proposed immigration policies pose a grave threat to BGSU’s mission of equity, diversity, and inclusion,” the petition reads. “Given these dire circumstances, we urge continued conversation and concrete action from the Faculty Senate and the BGSU administration.”

Among many things, the petition calls for the University to “support and protect all of BGSU’s students and workers, regardless of their citizenship status, religion, ethnicity, or national origin,” “not cooperate with federal ICE authorities regarding deportations or immigration raids,”  and protect personal information of all staff and students.

According to the petition, similar policies are being adopted at UCLA and other campuses.

These policies provide that “Campus Police will not engage in helping the federal government with deportations or inquiring as to the immigration status of students,” the petition reads.

A similar electronic sanctuary campus petition at UCLA was created following the November election results.

“We, the undersigned faculty, petition the university to immediately develop protocol for making itself a sanctuary for undocumented students, staff, workers, and their families,” the UCLA petition reads. “In doing so, we join universities and colleges across the country, including UC Berkeley, UT Austin, Michigan, and Wisconsin…”

The UCLA sanctuary campus petition has reached about 1,300 signatures of its 1,600 goal.