sanctuary campus petition

Still no action in Faculty Senate on sanctuary petition

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University Faculty Senate meeting Tuesday unfolded much as the January session had. Senators were greeted by a gauntlet of protestors outside McFall, and then when the senate convened the sign-carrying demonstrators lined the assembly hall quietly and listened through President Mary Ellen Mazey’s remarks. And when she addressed the issue they were concerned about, a request for a sanctuary campus, they heard the same stance. The university must adhere to the law. But the university will do everything within the parameters of the law to assist foreign students and faculty as well as students with status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The university has 11 DACA students and 21 with visas or green cards from the seven countries covered by the travel ban. Mazey has publicly supported proposed federal legislation, the BRIDGE Act that would extent DACA status to people who were brought to the country illegally as children. On Tuesday, Mazey announced she joined 600 other higher education leaders in signing a letter opposing the travel ban issued by the administration. While acknowledging the need to “safeguard” the country, the letter states the signatories also recognize “the need for the United States to remain the destination of choice for the world’s best and brightest students, faculty, and scholars.” This openness promotes American values abroad as well as promoting scientific and technological advances, the letter states. When asked, Mazey would not speculate on what action the university would take if these legislative and lobbying efforts failed. Professor Francisco Cabanillas then asked if those efforts fail “would we have to say yes in our town” to immigration officials checking the status of students and faculty, referencing the Not In Our Town anti-bias program that Mazey help found. Mazey reiterated that all students and faculty are here legally, so she doesn’t see why immigration officials would come to BGSU. “We have confidence in the law.” But for those pushing for sanctuary status that is not enough. Outside before the meeting, Ethnic Studies professor Michaela Walsh, who initiated the sanctuary campus petition, said she hoped that bringing the issue up before Faculty Senate “would be the first step toward creating an open dialogue” after the issue failed to generate discussion at the previous senate meeting. Luis Moreno, also of Ethnic Studies, said the issue was driven by a concern for students, all students. He noted that most of the several dozen picketers were students. “Students are coming out on this issue,” he said. ”They need to listen to the students.” Nearby protestors chanted “all the power to the students.” That dialogue didn’t happen. After Mazey’s remarks and the protestors’ departure, the meeting continued through its agenda with discussions of a new major, honorary degrees, parking and more. But just before adjournment Christina Guenther, professor of German, said that the optional senate on-call meeting on Feb. 21 should be used to give a full airing of the issue. Geologist Jim Evans then said that this was the second meeting at which dozens of people had showed up, and respectfully attended. The senate should have acknowledged their presence, he said, and invited someone to address their concerns. Rachelle Hippler, who chairs the senate, said that no one had asked to speak and all requests to have items placed on agenda were anonymous. She conceded the senate could have been more welcoming. After the meeting, Mazey said she welcomed the opportunity to discuss the issue and would be initiating a series of breakfast meetings in hopes to hear the concerns. She said the university…

Mazey rejects sanctuary campus proposal

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Several dozen  protestors, a mix of students, faculty and community residents, lined the sidewalk leading to the main entrance of McFall ready to greet those arriving for Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting to support making Bowling Green State University a sanctuary campus. The petition calls on the university to refuse to cooperate with immigration officials in deporting anyone in the country without proper documents, to not assist any federal officers in gathering information about immigration status, and to “require that on-campus recruiters from the Department of Homeland Security, Border Patrol, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement use civilian clothing, bring no weapons, and drive no official vehicles.” The protestors wanted the senate to support the petition, but Michaela Walsh, who originated it, said the senate’s executive committee did not place it on the agenda. She said a senator could bring it up under the issues portion of the agenda. That did not happen. The idea is to pressure President Mary Ellen Mazey and the university’s board of trustees to support the sanctuary plan. In her address to the senate, Mazey said she did not support the petition. As a public institution, the university required to obey the law. In an interview after the meeting, Mazey said that the university will continue to support students covered by the provisions of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, just as it supports all students. Mazey said there are 11 DACA students on campus, and noted that they received state aid. She said her decision was made based on what the petition asked for and that would be against federal law. “We’ll do everything we can to ensure the safety of our students and to ensure that we will comply with regulations here at Bowling Green State University,” Mazey said. She and other university presidents support the BRIDGE Act, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate in December, which would provide provisional protection for people with DACA status. In her remarks, Mazey said, that 68 percent of the university revenues are linked to the federal government. That includes federal student loans, competitive grants for programs, and research grants. Asked by Julie Haught about any threat to these funds if the university pursued sanctuary status, Mazey said she wasn’t aware of any. However U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) in a statement on Facebook last week wrote:  “Enforcing the law should not be controversial. I’ve signed onto legislation, the Stop Dangerous Sanctuary Cities Act, that would deny Federal funds to cities or any other jurisdiction that refuses to share information that would help immigration officials do their job. There is no reason to allow these safe havens for illegal criminals to continue.” Mazey said she was unaware of that legislation. She said she was reassured by the BRIDGE Act and the stance taken by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on immigration. Mazey said much has evolved since the election, and she is optimistic about how the issue will be resolved. “I feel comfortable that we’re going to be OK.” That feeling is not shared by Walsh. The petition was based on what Trump said during that campaign and that included ending the DACA policy. “I can tell you the day after Trump was elected many of my Latino students had slurs written on the doors of their dorm rooms,” she said. The sanctuary proposal also includes, she said, support for all students who now feel threatened. That support includes counseling and legal assistance.

Citizens urged to support ‘sanctuary campus’ plan

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Undocumented immigrants protected under President Barack Obama’s administration now face uncertainty when Donald Trump is sworn in as president next week. Across the country, approximately 800,000 people have registered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy that allows certain undocumented immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation. But that status is now at risk. “These undocumented youth are stuck in the middle of this,” said Luis Moreno, who teaches Latino studies at Bowling Green State University. Based on Trump’s stance during the presidential campaign, those previously protected are now exposed. Since DACA was an executive order by Obama, Trump could revoke it as soon as he is in office. “Students might be detained next week,” said Michaela Walsh, who also teaches Latino studies at BGSU. People who previously signed up for DACA gave the government information, “which makes them even more vulnerable.” Moreno and Walsh led a community meeting Thursday evening about efforts to create a “sanctuary campus” at BGSU. More than 350 signatures have been collected on a petition that will be presented next week to the BGSU Faculty Senate. The goal is to garner support and convince BGSU President Mary Ellen Mazey and the university trustees to consider the sanctuary concept. “We want to provide buffers from people being deported,” Walsh said. Bowling Green has a large immigrant population, including those undocumented. “There is a community here of undocumented students and employees at the university,” Moreno said, though no numbers were known. “As citizens, it’s our duty to protect those people,” Walsh said. A woman in the crowd at the community meeting at Grounds for Thought agreed. “It’s time for people in this community who feel safe to stand up,” she said. Moreno noted how BGSU’s president has worked to promote diversity on campus, and added that he hoped that her dedication to students would extend to undocumented students. Other universities across the nation are considering similar actions. A student in the crowd asked how they could help. It was suggested that students make their opinions known to Mazey as she begins a “listening tour” on campus. “You have a lot of power,” Walsh said. Another person in the crowd asked if BGSU would lose federal funding if it became a sanctuary campus. The organizers said that is possible, but “there’s time to mount resistance to that,” Walsh said. Another audience member, Raymond Gomez, said the issue extends far beyond campus. He talked about a co-worker who is an undocumented immigrant. “He’s been here almost 50 years,” Gomez said. “We have to take this further than the university. I’m going to be God darned if I let them be ripped out of the country at gunpoint.” Wood County has an estimated 6,000 Latino residents, according to Moreno. “I’m still questioned today if I was born here,” he said, noting his family has been in the U.S. for generations. “There assume we are undocumented. Those stereotypes also affect me.” Those organizing the sanctuary effort are hoping that the campus concept can be expanded to the city and the county to offer greater protection. Those in the audience were encouraged to attend Bowling Green City Council meetings. “The more voices they hear,” the more seriously they will take the issue, Moreno said. People were urged to go to the BGSU Faculty Senate meeting on Tuesday afternoon, in McFall Center, when that organization may vote on the petition. Supporters are asked to rally outside the building at 2:10 p.m. The…