By Emily Tai
As of this writing, Chancellor Milliken and six CUNY Presidents—of Queensborough, Kingsborough, BMCC, Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn College, and John Jay College of Criminal Justice—are among the over 200 college and university leaders who have signed an open letter urging our country’s leaders to uphold the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA). A similar letter, appealing for support for undocumented students, and signed by presidents of the country’s Jesuit’s colleges, includes Father Joseph M. McShane, President of Fordham University—President-Elect Trump’s undergraduate alma mater.
Sanctuary Campus Resolutions at CUNY
At CUNY, concern for immigrant and undocumented students has inspired resolutions from the Academic Senates at Bronx Community College, and Borough of Manhattan Community College, naming each as a “Sanctuary Campus.” “Be it resolved, “ concludes the Bronx Community College resolution, that “the College Senate of Bronx Community College of The City University of New York has voted to designate Bronx Community College as a “Sanctuary Campus” and will ask the College’s administration to consent to exercise any available power to implement this Resolution to protect our students, staff, faculty, and those physically located on campus from intimidation, investigation, surveillance, deportation, and other protected status-based attack when they are on campus.”
Beyond Sanctuary: Resources for Immigrant Students
The spirit of these resolutions is supported by a recent resolution in support of “sanctuary campuses” issued by the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). Such shows of solidarity with immigrant students, and students of diverse backgrounds, are seen as necessary affirmations of in the face of intolerance, such as the recent attack on a Muslim Baruch student in the New York subway last week.
Across the country, some campus leaders have nonetheless worried that resolutions in favor of “sanctuary campuses” carry little power to actually protect students. “Feel-good actions and solidarity are fine,” University of Houston Law Center Professor and Interim University of Houston President Michael Olivas wrote in an editorial piece that appeared in last month’s Inside Higher Ed. Better, however, Olivas argued, would be to work with organizations like the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (which offers a legal brief on “Immigrant’s rights” on its website); or the National Immigration Law Center.
A list of additional organizations that assist immigrants and refugees around the country can be found at the website of The Migrationist, an international blog that discusses migration issues. Among the resources listed are the New York Immigration Coalition, and Make the Road New York, both accessible to CUNY students. Additional resources for immigrant students at CUNY are also listed at the Central Office website, the University Student Senate website, and through CUNY Citizenship Now!
Emily S. Tai is an associate professor of History at Queensborough Community College, UFS Executive Committee member and UFS Blog Editor. She would like to thank Professor Franklin Moore, Bronx Community College Professor of Law and Faculty Council Chair , as well as Professor Sangeeta K Bishop, Borough of Manhattan Community College Social Sciences, Human Services & Criminal Justice Department Chair, for sharing their college’s resolutions.
The UFS Blog is a forum for CUNY Faculty, and welcomes the expression of all points of view.
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