Zachary Petrizzo, Campus Reform
Students and faculty at a progressive university in New York City have created a “Sanctuary Campus Scorecard” to rate schools on their efforts to shelter illegal immigrants.
The scored is a project of the “Sanctuary Working Group,” a coalition of “undocumented and international students, allied students, and faculty and staff” dedicated to making sure that The New School aggressively implements “sanctuary campus” policies.
“SWG is working with faculty, staff and administration across the university to address deficits in creating a sanctuary campus that is safe and can provide adequate resources to members of its community affected by racist and anti-immigrant policies and everyday practices,” the group states on its website, explaining that “SWG operates with an expanded understanding of sanctuary that recognizes the multiple ways in which state-based geopolitics intersects with other forms of power exercised through inequalities of race, gender, sexuality, and class.”
The “Sanctuary Campus Scorecard” rates 12 schools (and one faculty labor union) on how thoroughly they have implemented 15 different “sanctuary” policies, such as banning U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from campus and providing financial, medical, and housing resources to illegal immigrants.
The scorecard uses letter grades, with an “A” indicating “substantial measures taken,” a “B” representing “half-measures taken,” and the lowest grade of “C” meaning “inadequate measures or no measures taken.”
The New School, notably, gets C’s in most categories, and while it does earn A’s for its refusal to either share information with ICE or allow ICE agents on campus without a warrant, it gets a C in a related category for failing to “require trainings for all staff on how to respond to federal agents seeking access.”
In fact, Adelphi University is the only school on the list to earn an A in the “Staff Training” category, with all others receiving a C.
Adelphi is also the only institution with an A in the “Housing + Resources” category, which evaluates whether schools “provide emergency housing and expand job opportunities on campus for noncitizen and international students who cannot travel during academic breaks due to their immigration status.’
A greater number of schools earned top marks for increasing “financial aid for noncitizen students,” with Columbia University, Reed College, the University of California-Berkeley, Brown University, and UCLA all receiving an A in the category.
Seven of the 12 schools also provide “mental health support” to illegal immigrant students, but only Reed College provides adequate “health care stipends for students who do not have access to Medicaid due to their immigration status,” according to the scorecard.
SWG elaborates on its “sanctuary” demands in a page on its website titled “16 Points Towards a Sanctuary Campus,” calling on The New School to “increase institutional financial aid for noncitizen students, especially undocumented students,” provide “free or low cost” legal support for illegal immigrants, and “develop alternatives to class attendance for students unable to attend in person due to their immigration status.”
In addition, the group wants the school to create an on-campus resource center and staff position “dedicated to supporting undocumented students and orienting prospective applicants from US high schools who are undocumented,” and to establish “on-campus working groups…to assess and address the evolving needs of all those affected.”
Of the 16 actions demanded by SWG, however, the site indicates that The New School has only implemented one: signing the “Statement in Support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and our Undocumented Immigrant Students” that counts hundreds of American colleges and universities among its signatories.
SWG has also created a “Know Your Rights” poster warning that “anyone with an unlawful immigration status and anyone with status (lawful permanent residents and visa holders) with certain criminal convictions” is at risk of deportation.
“The focus under Trump Administration is people they believe pose a threat to public safety,” the poster solecistically states. “This means, people with pending criminal cases and/or prior criminal convictions, final orders of removal, and who have committed fraud or misrepresentation in applications to the government.”
The flyer goes on to list suggestions for what to do “in case of an ICE raid,” such as refusing to open the door, remaining silent, and refusing to sign any forms, concluding with an exhortation to “make a plan and fight!”
SWG also offers a downloadable version of its logo that people can display on their doors, backpacks, or even in the signature line of their emails to indicate that they “support SANCTUARY” and “can provide a safe space.”
Not content to limit its scope to immigration policy, SWG also proclaims that it “opposes racist laws and policies, from the [M]uslim ban to the repeal of DACA and TPS to encroachments on indigenous sovereignty to broken windows policing, and mass incarceration.”
In keeping with that broader mission, SWG held an open forum on March 30 to “demand designated space for students of color,” circulating a petition insisting that The New School establish a venue for minority students to “exist without the pressures of white supremacy.”
Campus Reform reached out to the Sanctuary Working Group, but did not receive a response.
A spokesperson for The New School told Campus Reform that “the Sanctuary Working Group was founded by New School students,” adding that “the university supports free expression by students and their right to form groups around common interests.”
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