We, the concerned students of the Bates Community, move that Bates College follow the lead of over 200 colleges and universities across the nation in seeking official status as a sanctuary campus for undocumented immigrants living at Bates and in Lewiston. This is an imperative step as we prepare to protect the members of our community directly threatened by President-Elect Donald Trump and his administration.
Within the first 100 days in office, President-Elect Donald Trump plans to block funding for sanctuary cities and states and overturn Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA specifically grants protection from deportation to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States under the age of 16 and before June of 2007. With the repeal of DACA, over 13,000 U.S. college students will be in danger of deportation. It is the duty of college and university administrations across the country to act in defense of students most vulnerable to President-Elect Donald Trump’s proposed immigration policies.
Sanctuary spaces around the country—including cities, states, and college campuses—serve to protect undocumented immigrants by refusing to comply with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Colleges and Universities hold unique power in that ICE officials cannot step foot on campus property without authorization (policy number 10029.2). Not only will sanctuary status serve to protect DACA-mented, undocumented students, faculty, and staff, but it will also serve as a gesture of protection and kindness to Lewiston’s large Somali refugee population (one of the largest populations in Maine with approximately 7,000 Somali refugees)—a group of people whom Donald Trump has directly targeted in his campaign, blaming them for Maine’s increasing crime rates. Lewiston Mayor Robert Macdonald even quoted that he and Lewiston police “will not tolerate the harassment of any members of our community for any reasons.” We need to preserve Bates’ values and the values of Lewiston.
Bates College is responsible for manifesting the inclusive values and progressive history it boasts. Bates College holds a proud history as a place of progressive thought and equality, dating all the way back to its abolitionist founding. The college mission statement declares, “With ardor and devotion — Amore ac Studio — we engage the transformative power of our differences, cultivating intellectual discovery and informed civic action.” It is crucial that we uphold the truth of these words and follow in the history of progressive equality.
For these reasons, we call on Bates College to act immediately, and to declare itself a sanctuary before President-Elect Donald Trump’s inauguration on January 20th, 2017. We implore the college to adopt and uphold a written policy declaring, clearly and publicly, the protections it will offer according to our vision of a sanctuary campus, outlined below:
– Bates College will guarantee the privacy and confidentiality of undocumented students, faculty, and staff
– Bates College will take immediate action to protect, serve, and ensure the safety of DACA-mented and undocumented students so that their path to academic success continues to advance
– Bates College will refuse disclosing or voluntarily relinquishing information with ICE/CBP to its fullest capacity under the law
– Bates College will refuse ICE’s presence on campus and any property that is owned by the college
– Bates College will prohibit campus security from inquiring about an individual’s immigration status and/or commit practices that are enforced by ICE/CBP (e.g., referring to undocumented people as “illegal aliens,” infringing undocumented students their human rights, and much more)
-Bates College will continue to push for an ongoing, healthy dialogue with students, faculty, and staff regarding college policy and provide unconditional support for communities who study, reside, and work at the college, and push for support in the Lewiston community
President Clayton Spencer was recently quoted in a message to the Bates Community on November 9 saying, “Bates is a strong community because of the conscious effort we make every day to honor our founding values. At our best, we work hard to know, encourage, and celebrate one another, and we embrace the transformative power of our differences. This work is our duty and our privilege, and it is more important than ever.” Our history, founding values, and vibrant Community demand that we act quickly and compassionately. We, as the Bates Community, need to show that Bates College respects, values, and celebrates the undocumented members of our Community. We cannot afford to stay silent.
BSA tabled in Commons on Monday and Tuesday collecting signatures for the petition. More information as well as a sign able petition will be coming electronically in the coming days
The concerned students, faculty, staff and alumni of Bates College