Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Dear President Valerie Smith, Provost Tom Stephenson, Board of Managers Chair Tom Spock, and Director of Public Safety Michael Hill,
In the wake of the recent Presidential election, we – the undersigned students, faculty, and staff – urge you to take immediate steps to make Swarthmore College a sanctuary campus for students, staff, and their family members who face deportation under President-elect Donald J. Trump’s proposed policies. We also urge you to make a public commitment to supporting and ensuring the safety of women, people of color, LGBTQ+ community members, Muslims, low-income students, and all other individuals whose safety will be severely jeopardized by Trump’s proposed policies and the hatred and violence he has legitimized.
Trump’s politics promise to put the undocumented members of our community at unprecedented risk. The threat to students, workers, and their families requires a concrete and tangible response from the College. We write in solidarity with other students and workers across the country who have called upon their own schools to take similar action.
An internal 2011 memo declares that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are subject to certain restrictions upon entering college campuses. This puts Swarthmore in a unique position, which it can and should use to protect its undocumented community members from law enforcement. As an institution that is committed to upholding the Quaker values of respect for individuals and communities, justice, and nonviolence, it is the College’s obligation to ensure that it remains a place that actively protects the rights and safety of its community members.
For these reasons, we urge you to adopt a public, written policy communicating the the following protections:
- The College refuses all voluntary information sharing with ICE/CBP across all aspects of the College to the fullest extent possible under the law;
- The College refuses ICE physical access to all land owned or controlled by the college;
- The College prohibits campus security from inquiring about or recording as to an individual’s immigration status or enforcing immigration laws or participating with ICE/ CBP in actions.
- The College does not use e-verify.
- The College prohibits housing discrimination based on immigration status.
- The College vows to ensure the safety of women, people of color, LGBTQ+ community members, Muslims, low-income students, and all other individuals who will face heightened threat over the coming months and years.
This policy shall be enforced by all college staff and all contractors and subcontractors and their employees working on property owned or controlled by the college.
Additionally, we request that the college commit to ongoing dialogue with the students about additions to the college policy and support for community efforts that protect immigrants who study, live, and work at the college and their families and the community.
We share the sentiment our community’s President Smith expressed in the wake of the election: “Now, more than ever, we must continue the good and difficult work of creating a more inclusive, just, and compassionate community both on our own campus, and in the world.” We are certain that Swarthmore’s declaration as a sanctuary campus will serve as a step in fulfilling this vision.
[Over 1000 signatories]