Editorial Board

Syracuse University, SUNY-ESF have properly addressed sanctuary campus issue

Donald Trump’s election has caused uncertainty for undocumented college students, and Syracuse University is easing it.

Apart from plans to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, Trump has also proposed to do away with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. This immigration reform, which was established under President Barack Obama, allows students who immigrated illegally to remain in the United States by enrolling in school.

Inspired by the idea of “sanctuary cities,” hundreds of other American colleges and universities have called for their campus to be a “sanctuary campus.” The responses, from both SU and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, to this movement have been strong and rightfully so.

Before Thanksgiving break, students at SU and SUNY-ESF staged a 1,000-person walkout in favor of the schools becoming sanctuary campuses. The next day, Chancellor Kent Syverud added his signature alongside more than 450 college and university presidents who support DACA.

This sends a message that students, regardless of immigration status, are accepted at SU. This echoes moves made by former SU Chancellor Nancy Cantor, who accepted students who were kicked out of the public university system in Georgia for their undocumented status. This also reflects Syverud’s prior statements after the election that diversity and inclusion can extend to citizenship.

Another response from the SU and SUNY-ESF community was an online petition urging both administrations to take necessary steps toward becoming sanctuary campuses. Co-signed by hundreds of community members, demands include refusing to comply with immigration authorities for deportations and raids, guaranteed privacy of immigration status and assigning an administration office for DACA students. Given that some of these demands put university federal funding at risk, any pro-DACA moves administrators can make are tangible measures in support undocumented immigrants legally.

Students and faculty mobilization is a solid start. And anything administrators can do to listen to this vocal portion of the university body and maintain the support of its undocumented members is crucial to making all students feel welcome on campus.


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