Friday, January 20, 2017

DU Prof Wants Sanctuary Status On Campus

 (above) DU Assistant Professor Armond Towns wants to ban the Feds from looking for Illegal Aliens on Campus

Sanctuary Campus Letter (December, 2016)

From: On behalf of Armond Towns
Date: Friday, January 6, 2017 at 9:36 AM

The nationwide sanctuary campus movement has gained momentum since the presidential election and the DU community is looking forward to the start of winter quarter to continue our own efforts to create a sanctuary campus.

All members of the community are invited to a meeting to discuss the movement, ways to ensure our campus remains safe for all of its community members, and plans for a march to the Chancellor's office to ask that the administration support our efforts.

The meeting will take place January 6 at 5:30 at Sie International Relations Complex 1108. The tentative date for the march is January 19. More details to come.

Please mark your calendars and help us spread the word.

Below is a letter sent to the chancellor that details the steps necessary for DU to become a sanctuary campus. We have compiled this list drawing on actions and efforts recently adopted by public and private universities around the country.

December 29, 2016
Dear Chancellor Chopp,

In the wake of the presidential election, we, University of Denver Community Members, strongly urge you to immediately investigate the possibility of our campus serving as a sanctuary for students, staff, faculty and their family members who face deportation under President-elect Donald J. Trump’s proposed policies. We understand the current controversial nature of using the term “sanctuary.” Yet, we believe that our shared commitments and efforts to vigorously protect the privacy and civil rights of all of our undocumented and persecuted community members are intended to establish and affirm our University campus as a safe and inclusive space in these uncertain times.

Faculty members have raised concrete actions that the University of Denver can take to support and protect valued members of our community. We write in support of their suggestion. The following is a list of actions that we would like the University of Denver to implement in order to demonstrate our commitment to inclusive excellence as well as the safety and well-being of our undocumented community.

· The University of Denver should not voluntarily participate with or allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) / Customs and Border Protection (CBP) / U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on our campus unless required by warrant, subpoena or court order. If they are on campus without a warrant, subpoena, or court order, DU campus security should ask them to leave. Further, DU should not share any information about any undocumented student, staff or faculty with these agencies unless presented with a judicial warrant, subpoena or court order, or unless authorized by the student, staff or faculty or required by law

· Any request by ICE, CBP and/or USCIS for information or to access the University of Denver should be immediately forwarded to the Office of the Chancellor, DU police and the general counsel's office for review. The Office of the Chancellor should create a committee of qualified faculty and staff that can ask for the agent’s credentials, ask the agent why he or she is requesting access, and ask the agent what evidence of reasonable suspicion exists. Immigration personnel should provide written authority from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit of DHS and/or the Department of Homeland Security instructing them to enter University of Denver property and for what purpose.

· University of Denver Campus Safety should not assist ICE, CBP and/or USCIS or Denver PD in efforts to identify and deport or otherwise punish undocumented DU students, staff or faculty. And DU campus security should not contact, detain, question or arrest students solely on their suspected or known immigration status.

· The University of Denver should notify the DU community, especially staff who work most directly with students and student data, in the event that immigration officials request or attempt to come to campus.

· The University of Denver should not cooperate with any federal effort to create a registry of individuals based on any protected characteristics such as religion, national origin, race or sexual orientation. This is particularly important considering that the president-elect seeks to surveil and identify Muslim community members.

· The University of Denver and the Office of the Chancellor should reconfirm its commitment to supporting the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and advocate for comprehensive immigration reform.

· If DACA is terminated, as the president-elect has threatened to do, the University of Denver should increase financial aid and other support to undocumented students who stand to lose their ability to continue their education and/or their right to work.

· The University of Denver should continue to admit students consistent with its nondiscrimination policies so that undocumented students should be considered for admission under the same criteria as U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

· The University of Denver should develop/expand resources for undocumented students, staff and faculty and build/enhance partnerships with community and legal organizations with regards to immigration services and support.

It is our responsibility to ensure that DU remains a place that actively protects the rights and safety of its community. We owe it to the most vulnerable members of our community to ensure that it stays that way.

If President-elect Trump implements his promised policies and we do nothing, DU's commitment to diversity, justice, and inclusion will be inconsequential. This is not a moment in which we can afford silence or passivity.

Awaiting your action,


University of Denver Community Members

Armond R. Towns, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Communication Studies
University of Denver