30 November 2016

Press Release: Washington State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors Supports Efforts to Create a Sanctuary Campus

Professor Donna Potts (donna.potts@gmail.com), WSU Pullman
Professor Elizabeth Siler (elizabethsiler@gmail.com), WSU Pullman
Professor Desiree Hellegers (desiree.hellegers@hotmail.com), WSU Vancouver
Professor Michael Mays (wmmays@hotmail.com), WSU Tri-Cities

Washington State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors Supports Efforts to Create a Sanctuary Campus 

The Washington State University chapter of The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) stands firmly with those seeking to petition to make WSU a sanctuary campus and urges the university administration to affirm this request.  

Across the United States, hundreds of universities have proposed officially making their universities sanctuary campuses, safe spaces in which undocumented students can study and learn without fear of deportation.  28 universities have formally offered sanctuary to their undocumented students.   Currently, at Washington State University (WSU), there is an effort to petition the university administration to make WSU a sanctuary campus.    

This petition asks that Washington State University:

Adopt a resolution that actively bans U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other immigration enforcement officials from this campus,

Block immigration officials from student information without explicit consent from the student, and

Make a public statement indicating that the university urges the U.S. government to affirmatively protect students who are currently under DACA  (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) from removal and supports a path to permanent status for these students

These student-centered goals are congruent with the stated university’s broader goals, explained in the Vision, Mission, and Values statement of 2014-2019 as fostering the values of Integrity, Trust, and Respect, in which WSU asserts its commitment “to ensuring trust and respect for all persons in an environment that cultivates individual and institutional integrity in all that we do.”[1] That trust, respect, and cultivation of integrity cannot be fostered in an environment in which students who have been permitted to enroll at WSU under the Washington State REAL Hope Act must be fearful of potential deportation from the university and from the country.

Furthermore AAUP recognizes the contribution of undocumented students to helping meet our collective commitment to the value of Diversity and Global Citizenship outlined in this strategic plan.  As Dr. Kirk Schulz, our university President, has noted in a related statement on the issue of undocumented students on this campus, “It’s important to remind ourselves, too, that diversity in all its forms benefits each of us. Interacting and learning with people from a diversity of backgrounds stimulates intellectual growth, encourages collaboration and fosters innovation – essential building blocks in creating community.”[2]   Acknowledging that the WSU university community proudly “offer[s] life-changing college experiences to our undocumented students as authorized by the state,” Dr. Schulz also notes this university has developed scholarship programs for undocumented students.

This well-established commitment to undocumented students underscores the need to further affirm students in their efforts to achieve sanctuary campus status.

[1] Value, Mission, and Vision. Washington State University Strategic Plan, 2014-2019.
[2] WSU committed to free expression, access to higher ed, WSU News, October 18, 2016