SIU student gov’s demand sanctuary for families of illegals

Anthony Gockowski
Investigative Reporter

  • Students at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (SIUC) are demanding that their school become a sanctuary not only for illegal immigrant students but “their families, and related community members” as well.
  • SIU administrators, however, have cautioned that "sanctuary campus" policies raise a number of legal questions, and are declining to take action on any of the demands.
  • Students at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale (SIUC) are demanding that their school become a sanctuary not only for illegal immigrant students but “their families, and related community members” as well.

    In fact, the petition, which was written shortly after the election of Donald Trump but has only recently garnered the attention of the school’s administration, was endorsed and created by SIU’s graduate and undergraduate student governments.

    “[Make] our campus a formal sanctuary for undocumented immigrants, their families, and related community members.”   

    [RELATED: Law prof: sanctuary campuses not legal structures]

    “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,” the petition begins, making explicit demands for legal protection for students’ families and relatives.

    While hundreds of student groups have demanded sanctuary for students in the United States under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, fearing that President-elect Trump would follow through on his plans to eliminate the controversial policy, the calls for extended protection of family members and relatives at SIUC appear to be unprecedented so far.

    [RELATED: MAP: Schools cave to sanctuary campus demands]

    Campus Reform contacted both of the governing bodies in question to ask for clarification on their proposal, but neither had responded in time for publication.

    Nonetheless, SIU’s administration has addressed the petition, saying various members of the administration have been tasked with weighing the benefits of a sanctuary campus designation.

    “Whatever the campuses do, it’s going to be consistent across the system. We’re not going to have one which is and one which isn’t. That’s not going to happen,” SIU System President Randy Dunn told The Southern Illinoisan.

    SIUC Chancellor Brad Colwell, moreover, acknowledged that there exist serious legal roadblocks to converting a campus into a sanctuary for illegal immigrants.

    “The concept of a sanctuary campus is complex and brings with it a number of legal questions,” he explained. “We do not want to go forward in a way that has unintended consequences for the university and all of its students.”

    Meanwhile, the petition calls on SIU’s administration to offer in-state tuition to any student in the country under DACA, a policy that the University System of Georgia was recently forced to adopt.

    [RELATED: Judge forces Georgia to give illegals in-state tuition]

    The petition also demands mandatory training in “de-escalation intervention techniques” for all faculty and staff as well as “Safe Zone training” for all “student organization leaders” and “student government executive officers,” presumably including the writers of the petition themselves.

    “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,” the petition concludes, referencing SIU’s mission statement. “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.”

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    Anthony Gockowski

    Anthony Gockowski

    Investigative Reporter

    Anthony Gockowski is an Investigative Reporter for Campus Reform. He has previously worked for The Daily Caller, Intercollegiate Review, and The Catholic Spirit.

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