Randy Dunn, President, Southern Illinois University SystemWilliam Bradley Colwell, Interim Chancellor, Southern Illinois University CarbondaleSusan Ford, Interim Provost for Academic Affairs
Re: Southern Illinois University Carbondale as a Sanctuary Campus for Undocumented Students
Dear President Dunn, Interim Chancellor Colwell, Provost Ford:
Following the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, we, the Diversity and Inclusivity Policy Committee of the Graduate and Professional Student Council, the Diversity and Equity Affairs Committee of the Undergraduate Student Government, as well as the undersigned individuals, ask that the Southern Illinois University, Carbondale administration begin immediately the process of making our campus a formal sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, their families, and related community members.
In his first one hundred day plan, the president-elect and his cabinet have promised to deport millions of immigrants, currently documented or otherwise; build a wall that divides the United States from the global south; and abolish the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that provides relief from deportation for over 700,000 young people in the United States. These policy decisions will break up families and tear apart the fabric of our community. In light of this, we demand an unequivocal, public declaration of our university’s support for and protection of DACA students, undocumented students, those students who are at risk of losing their documented status, and their families on our campus.
We present the following incidences, reported by students and their family members, to demonstrate a rising tide of intolerance and hatred that has, as of this letter, reached our campus and necessitated a demand for protection of our DACA students, students who are at risk of becoming undocumented, and their family:
+ Omega Delta Phi house was defaced with pro-Trump graffiti.
+ A young woman was sexually assaulted on her way home.
+ A male Latino student was intimidated by individuals using pro-Trump rhetoric while performing maintenance on his truck.
+ An Afro-Latino family member of one of our students was the subject of vehicular intimidation.
Such attacks will proliferate in the coming days without a strong response from the university administration. Therefore, in light of the vitriolic social environment, and the coming policy changes, we ask the SIUC administration to provide all assistance under its purview for DACA students, students who are at risk of becoming undocumented, and their family. We make the following specific requests:
+ Guarantee student privacy by refusing to release information regarding the immigration status of our students and community members. Refuse to comply with immigration authorities regarding deportations or raids.
+ Collect all elements of DACA support services into a single office which will serve to centralize the university’s DACA support elements to better assist DACA students in the changed social climate.
+ Guarantee that this same office shall be charged with pursuing funding for all students who lack citizenship through coordination with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and the Graduate School.
+ Guarantee in-state tuition to students previously awarded DACA recipients.
+ Assure that all students receive a campus, classroom, and community experience free of hostilities, aggression, and bullying by publicizing the campus-wide anonymous reporting mechanisms, as well as investigating ways in which these mechanisms can address the changing landscape of hate speech.
+ Provide training to all staff and faculty in de-escalation intervention techniques, and expanding the Saluki Patrol services. Additionally, we demand that the university immediately provide Safe Zone training to all student organization leaders, student government executive officers, and the leaders of Greek Organizations.
Per the SIUC mission statement, “SIU embraces a unique tradition of access and opportunity, inclusive excellence, innovation in research and creativity, and outstanding teaching focused on nurturing student success… we create and exchange knowledge to shape future leaders, improve our communities, and transform lives.” As the arms of student government charged with ensuring the maintenance of the university commitment to inclusive excellence, we do not take this mission lightly.
Thus, we, the Diversity and Inclusivity Policy Committee of the Graduate and Professional Student Council, the Diversity and Equity Affairs Committee of the Undergraduate Student Government, as well as the undersigned, in recognition of the immediacy of the situation, demand that the SIUC administration take these steps, this semester, before the president-elect is sworn into office.