This petition is directed towards the president of the 12 higher-learning institutions which operate under the University System of Maryland, along with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.
In light of recent political events, we believe that it is essential to remind the students at your respective universities about our commitment to diversity and inclusivity on college campuses. All of our universities need to show our students that we truly value diversity and wish to foster a climate that is grounded in respect, tolerance, and inclusion. Our students need to be reassured that everyone is being protected on our campus and that our state does truly strive to cultivate the intellectual and personal growth of student communities through this unity.
Therefore, we request that the University System of Maryland protect all students at universities that operate under it. The University System of Maryland must make all affiliated campuses into "sanctuary schools". A sanctuary school is a safe zone where the administration prohibits immigration police from coming in and attempting to deport DACA, Dream Act, or other undocumented students. Also, a sanctuary school will not allow its faculty, staff, or students to be used in efforts relating to identifying, registering, or detaining alleged undocumented students.More than this, it will protect other staff and faculty who may be facing this same fear day to day. This means our campus would protect all students and faculty and our peers would no longer have to live in fear.
President-elect Trump's promise to cancel DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and his promise to immediately deport two to three million undocumented immigrants puts many of our community at an unprecedented risk. Many students fulfilling their dream to attain a college education and graduate with a meaningful degree will have this opportunity stripped away from them. Many families will be torn apart. Many people raised in the United States will be sent back to countries they are not familiar with, where they don't speak the language, where they have never before been. Following this draconian policy would lead to deporting some students to war-torn nations and endangering their lives. Families will be broken up. Lives will be forever altered.
This tremendous threat to our communities and campus families must be dealt with through a tangible and concrete response. An internal 2011 memo declares that U.S. immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are subject to certain restrictions upon entering college campuses (see https://www.ice.gov/doclib/ero-outreach/pdf/10029.2-policy.pdf). All schools under the University System of Maryland are in a position to protect their students from being targeted through discriminatory law enforcement. It's our responsibility to ensure that our universities actively protect the rights and safety of our communities and their members.
Given that many students, faculty, and their families live in fear from the President-elect's threats, we call on the University System of Maryland to prove our commitment to diversity, pledge against hate and xenophobia, and to immediately develop a protocol for making our school a sanctuary campus. We demand to see a sanctuary system through the following means:
- Do not grant permission for the U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement to enter campuses- Instruct campus police to refrain from being involved in federal immigration enforcement- Do not share information about members of any student community for such purposes without warrant.
We also urge all universities to develop measures that explicitly support and retain DACA students in the event of DACA's cancellation or expiration. Arrangements may include:
- Providing financial support for immigration application fees- Facilitating legal services to undocumented students and their families- Creating institutional scholarships that are open to undocumented students, with or without DACA status.
We ask all University System of Maryland affiliates to join the national movement led by students to assert campuses as sanctuary spaces. We will not allow a climate of fear to impede the educational goals of our undocumented students. As a campus community, we must demonstrate our commitment to providing those students a safe place to be educated. We stand with our most vulnerable members and we stand in strength with our mission for our campus. We have voices and we will use them to protect our brothers and sisters. Lastly, we ask that our campuses stays true to their word about pledging against hate and committing to diversity. We must practice what we preach.
We could be a leader as a state in this most critical moment. We urge you to take immediate action to make our state universities safe for all students, regardless of national origin or legal status.
From: Richard D. ElliottUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore CountyFounder of UMBC Progressives
President Mickey L. Burnim of Bowie State UniversityPresident Maria Thompson of Coppin State UniversityPresident Ronald Nowaczyk of Frostburg State UniversityPresident Janet Dudley-Eshbach of Salisbury University President Kim Schatzel of Towson UniversityPresident Kurt Schmoke of the University of BaltimorePresident Jay A. Perman of the University of Maryland, BaltimorePresident Freeman Hrabowski of the University of Maryland, Baltimore CountyPresident Wallace Loh of the University of Maryland, College ParkPresident Juliette B. Bell of the University of Maryland, Eastern ShorePresident Javier Mayares of the University of Maryland, University CollegePresident Donald Boesch of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science