We write to you about a matter requiring urgent attention. UW Bothell prides itself on being an inclusive, transformational, and engaged campus. Such commitments are at the heart of public education and part of a venerable tradition at the University. These principles are now threatened by the election of Donald J. Trump, especially for the undocumented members of our University. Please read the letter from our undocumented students at the end of this petition, and this letter from the faculty, staff, students and alumni in support of our undocumented students. Our mission and values require that the administration implement concrete actions that protect all Bothell students—especially those members of our community who have been targets of discrimination during a hate-filled and anxiety-inducing election cycle. In particular, we are concerned about the mental health and safety of undocumented students. Undocumented students, including those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) may be particularly at risk since in exchange for protection from deportation, they have submitted proof that they had lived in the U.S., undocumented, (at least) since 2007. Not only does the DACA order safeguard students from deportation, grant them work authorization, DACA has also opened doors for employment, greater participation in the United States.
Trump has promised to eliminate DACA and deport at least 3 million undocumented people in his first 100 days in office. This is a problem that affects our students and our families. While it is unclear whether or how quickly the Department of Homeland Security will take action against undocumented students, there is tremendous mental and emotional strain on all undocumented students and their families who face the looming threat of deportation.
In the wake of the recent presidential election, we call for you to declare our campus a sanctuary for undocumented, with and without DACA, students, staff, and their family members who face imminent deportation.
In declaring itself a sanctuary campus, we ask that UW Bothell and the UW system do the following:- Read the letter by the Undocumented Students of UWB, and address the demands that they make.- Make an unequivocal, public declaration of our university’s support for and protection of undocumented students, staff, and their families on our campus. - Refuse to allow ICE agents on campus.- Refuse to allow campus security or other police agencies to act on behalf of ICE agents.- Guarantee privacy by refusing to release information regarding the immigration status of our students, staff and community members, as required under FERPA.- Refuse to participate or assist in any other federal immigration law enforcement activities- Institute an Office for Undocumented Student Support to serve as a resource center for undocumented students and students of mixed-legal status families, actively defending students from the aforementioned threats given the imminent, divisive political climate. This office should be staffed by an undocumented person, and the office should be placed under the Diversity Center at UWB.- Establish the Diversity Center at UWB immediately.- Expand existing funds and establish a distinct budget for undocumented students and students in mixed-status families to cover fees associated with immigration-related legal proceedings.- Hire a mental health professional who is preferably a person of color, and who has equity literacy in working with politically marginalized communities and trauma-related issues of familial separation and the chronic threat of deportation.- Arrange for on-campus housing in mixed use buildings so that undocumented students have the option to remain within campus bounds during situations of heightened threats of immigration enforcement.- Continue in-state resident tuition for undocumented students who have qualified previously under HB 1079 (2003), and work to create institutional scholarships that are open to undocumented students (with or without DACA status), per SB 6523 (2014) financial aid (WASFA), continue to give students Husky Promise and other funding.- Implement the possibility of online or correspondence continuation of degree programs for students who have been arrested, imprisoned, or deported, or who are reluctant to travel to or appear on campus.- Publicly encourage the city manager and city council of Bothell to follow the lead of the city of Seattle and other communities around the country and declare itself a sanctuary city as well, so that our students are not isolated on campus- Take these measures during the current quarter (in other words, immediately) so that undocumented students can be assured of institutional support towards continuing in school next quarter through completion of their degree programs, in a safe environment.
We make this request most immediately of the Bothell campus, while working to also ensure sanctuary protections for all University of Washington campus locations, especially UW Tacoma as it is only 1.5 miles from the Northwest Detention Center. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s reassurance that Seattle will remain a sanctuary city may provide some comfort for students, faculty, and staff centered at UW Seattle. Given that Bothell is not currently designated as a sanctuary city it is imperative that UW Bothell takes a stand to protect our community. As campuses across the nation are beginning to think through action to protect undocumented students, we are mindful that institutions like UW may have a greater capacity and commitment to safeguard vulnerable students than public institutions that do not share our long tradition of inclusion and diversity. As the UW system develops a viable plan to protect undocumented students, this must be done WITH undocumented students. We hope that the institution may consider accepting undocumented students who are unable to come up with a viable safety plan at their home institutions as visiting students.
We recognize that some or all of these actions may involve costs that may not yet be clear, but we also believe these actions are foundational to our mission to educate a diverse student body. In addition, we recognize that the UW is in the midst of a campaign and we firmly believe that there are many supporters and allies in the region who actively hope the UW will hold itself to the highest ethical commitments, especially in this challenging time, and will step forward to work with us in moving our commitment to the next level.
We need action now to protect our institution’s core mission, values, and goals. We need action that demonstrates this University’s dedication to concretely support all of its students, regardless of their immigration status. Undocumented students live among us, contribute to our community, and participate in intellectual life at the University of Washington and beyond. The UW is responsible for their safety, healthy development, and intellectual freedom as well as for their safety from threats of violence, family separation and deportation. UW Bothell is frequently lauded as the most diverse campus in the state of Washington. We must live up to the claims we have made and the responsibilities we have as such a place. We ask that you move swiftly to address these matters. We will be following up diligently with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and you, the administration.
Signed,Students, Faculty, Staff, Alumni, and all concerned members of the UW Bothell community(full list below)
Undocumented Students’ Statement
We, the undocumented students of the University of Washington Bothell, are horrified. President-elect Donald Trump ran on a demonized campaign of toxic American Exceptionalism and a racist platform targeting us and our families. He wants to build walls that continue to create borders, and stop our natural instincts of migration as people. He continues to criminalize our community through racialized xenophobic language calling us illegals and aliens. His platform, has been supported by millions of white supremacists, who do not recognize the labor that undocumented people provide to this country on a daily basis. People who believe that our value is tied to a piece of paper, rather than our own dignity as humans. Our community is being targeted directly, threatening to deport us and our families. We are forced into perpetual gratitude towards the U.S. government even though it is the same government that forced us to migrate in the first place, due to U.S. imperialism and neocolonialism in our homes.
Catalina Velasquez, an undocumented transgender Colombiana, stated that to be undocumented is:
• To understand the misplaced resources from the federal government that focus on creating detention centers as supposed to community centers.• To have people making money out of our stories and speaking for us rather than creating space for us to speak on behalf of ourselves.• To see human rights as abstract concepts and our dignity and humanity as negotiating pieces in U.S. politics.• To drive to a hospital or school while terrified of being stopped, detained, and deported.• To fear deportation that could lead to a death sentence.• To believe that your basic human needs (such as healthcare, employment, schooling, housing) are wrong and justify U.S. citizens labelling you as social parasites.• To have your life’s worth reduced to human capital and productivity.
We are undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic and we are humans who have their lives on the line. We are not addressing the emotional well-being of our undocumented students. Instead, here we are expected to come out of the shadows and fight the racism, sexism, classism, and xenophobia we face every day. Yesterday, Sunday November 13th, Donald Trump stated that he will initially deport 3 million undocumented people in the United States. He also mentioned that he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which currently gives many of us the availability to work and be protected from deportations. Our dignity as undocumented people should be through our humanity, not lack of “citizenship”.
Undocumented folks have continuously faced systematic oppression through admissions, hiring, and financial aid practices; in addition to one-on-one interactions, within the classroom, and within campus ‘efforts’ and events. The university continues to show us through its racist, sexist, capitalist, and xenophobic actions that undocumented students do not belong at the University of Washington, and that we are not safe within these spaces. Our families, along with ourselves, are in constant risk of exploitation, deportations, and detention. The University of Washington continues to show the lack of support for undocumented students through its investment in private prisons, owned by the GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), which are responsible for horrible human rights violations for treatment of prisoners and undocumented people, who are being held for deportation.
The University of Washington Bothell should be a community that is supporting us and not fail us. Therefore, the University of Washington Bothell must invest that towards undocumented students in all the following ways:
1. We demand UW Bothell to publically become a sanctuary campus • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is not allowed to detain anyone on campus and its larger perimeters • Say NO to RAIDS: Declare and hold the university accountable to say no to raids within the UW campuses schools and our larger communities, by making a statement against raids in Washington State. • ICE will not be brought on to campus for Career Fairs and their job openings will not be shared on the Career Center’s newsletter or featured on any UW Bothell materials
2. Create permanent coordinator positions to work with and support undocumented students at the University of Washington Bothell • The position must be an Assistant Director full-time position working specifically with and for undocumented students. There should be a priority to hire an undocumented person for this position. • We must find ways to hire undocumented people who do not have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and alternatives for people who currently have DACA, but might be taken away under Trump’s presidency
3. Establish a task force dedicated to working across all three UW campuses to provide resources and support for undocumented students. • The task force must be composed by students, alumni, staff, and faculty. The undocumented students must approve the alumni, staff, faculty, and student allies who wish to be in the task force. • The university cannot expect students to lead this effort. Therefore, the full-time Assistant Director who will work with and support undocumented students must be hired immediately and start this effort.
4. The University of Washington system must fully fund and implement the undocumented allyship and advocacy trainings, created by undocumented students, with the support of staff and faculty at the University of Washington Bothell. • The workshops must be student centered and led by undocumented students and will use United We Dream (UWD) Dream Educational Empowerment Program’s Undocu Peers Curriculum in partnership with UWD’s local Washington State undocumented affiliate, Washington Dream Coalition • The training must be mandatory for all UW Bothell admissions advisors/recruiters, financial aid advisors, registrars, department advisors, counselors, and college and graduate school program advisors. • The training must be offered at least quarterly and it should be open to all faculty, staff, and student allies • The training must be created and led by undocumented students, and the student leaders and undocumented student guest must be monetarily compensated for their time and sharing their knowledge and experience. • The university must pay the students with and without DACA • Undocumented students must be given credit and recognition for their efforts.
5. Ensure the development of safe and empowering physical spaces for undocumented studentsThe University of Washington Bothell will allocate funding to fully support the Diversity Center and the Diversity Center Steering Community and Student Diversity Council will identify a space within the Diversity Center dedicated specifically towards undocumented students.
6. Development of a website for undocumented student resources
7. Address all xenophobic comments made on social media platforms and hold students, staff, and faculty accountable for their comments and actions.
8. Create a pathway to graduate school for undocumented students Recognize that there currently isn’t a pathway to graduate school and advance degrees for undocumented students in at the University of Washington system, and Washington State as a whole. • Therefore, create a clear and transparent admissions application that is inclusive of all undocumented students, including how to access fee waivers and GRE waivers. • Create financial assistance, including scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships for all undocumented students enrolled in graduate school and advanced degrees.
9. Create a book/textbook lending library for undocumented students at the University of Washington Bothell. Library staff has expressed to lead this effort and the university must invest in it
10. Make the annual Beyond Dreaming: Scholarship List for Undocumented Students in Washington State easily available in the UW Bothell admissions, scholarships, and current student websites.
11. Change all the language on the website to be inclusive of undocumented students: • Change “HB 1079” and “DREAMers” to undocumented students • Change all the financial aid language on the website to “FAFSA/WASFA” instead of just FAFSA. • Identify what WASFA is in the front page of the financial aid website, not only on the undocumented tab of the website
12. Create a scholarship endowment for undocumented students and allocate more funding towards scholarships for undocumented students, especially for students who do not qualify for the Washington Application for State Financial Aid (WASFA) and/or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
13. Support and encourage all undocumented students to apply for student positions on campus and do not refrain them for applying due to the payment structure and their ineligibility to seek legal employment in the United States. • Therefore, the university must create employment opportunities for undocumented students who are not eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Students must be fully paid and compensated for their time and knowledge. • Train human resources staff to work directly with undocumented students, those who are not eligible for DACA and those who are eligible for DACA.
14. Create an emergency fund for undocumented students at all three campuses.
15. Provide free legal counseling to undocumented students.
The demands must begin to be implemented immediately. It is unacceptable and disgraceful of the University of Washington that as undocumented students through the three campuses have been targeted through xenophobic rallies, classroom discussions, and through lack of institutional support from administration, faculty, staff, and fellow students. Therefore, we demand the university to recommit, every year, to National Institutions Coming Out Day to make the university more equitable for undocumented students. It is more shameful that UW is investing in private prisons that exploit, detain, and deport undocumented students, their families, and their communities. This must stop now, and UW needs to the full success commit to undocumented students should have started years ago. We are no longer in the shadows. We are undocumented, unafraid, and unapologetic and we will not tolerate injustice, oppression, and marginalization towards our community from the colonial, capitalist, sexist, and white supremacist institutions.
Below are statements by University of Washington Bothell undocumented students for the administration:
“As a first-year UW Bothell undocumented woman student, I feel fearful of my environment in a public institution due to the election results. As a student that is not eligible for DACA, I feel even more fearful of what could happen to my family and I, and I need my school community to be able to support me and not fail me, more than ever. I am tired of having to explain my situation to staff that work in the financial aid offices, and not receiving the quality of help that I need, as well not feeling safe expressing my fear as an undocumented student; it is not my job to educate them about my status. I feel unsettled and fearful of what could happen in January to my family and I as well as other undocumented folxs.”
“Additionally, it is at best negligent and at worst abysmal to host so called “safe spaces” for Undocu-folxs, POC, women, LGBTQIA+ folxs, Muslims and API’s when they are completely undermined by the same staff organizing them. “Safe spaces” if they are deemed to be safe should be student run with the purpose of facilitating free expression. As a student, I should not feel constrained in what I should express nor should my peers.”
“We need admissions advisors, counselors, registrars and financial aid counselors to be professionally developed in areas of resources for undocumented students. They must be trained in what it means to be undocumented, DACA eligibility, permanent and legal residency, WASFA and what it is, and increase scholarships and grants for undocumented students only. Have the Undocumented Student Network to be directed by an undocumented person, and create a community through that network to meet our fellow undocumented students on campus. The university to have a community dialogue ran and lead by students of marginalized groups. The university must hire more faculty and staff of color or different cultural backgrounds. The university’s Diversity Plan must center students of color particularly undocumented students.”
“Being a third year undocumented womxn of color the University of Washington Bothell has failed me many times. The financial aid office constantly reminds me that I am undocumented and expects me to justify this. I am expected to provide information that proves my status. I don't feel comfortable in my courses. But don't know what to do about it. I'm not comfortable because of the assignments and the way the students view migration. Somehow it is down to undocumented folxs. I hate the fact that I have to explain what my status always coming means and what it means to be a migrant when this should be a human right. I'm disgusted to be in a class about migration, and be told by my professor that she cannot control the demonizing comments people say about migration. Instead, she expects me to correct people myself. As someone who migrated, it is not my job to defend my dignity and humanity.”
--Letter of demands written by UW Bothell undocumented students: Oneira Gonzalez, Daniela Murguia, Hebler Saucedo, and Salvador Salazar, Supported by undocumented alumna, Alejandra Pérez