Oberlin promises 'safe spaces' for illegal immigrant students

Toni Airaksinen

  • Oberlin's Multicultural Resource Center is pursuing eight strategies to support illegal immigrant students, including an “ally training programs for faculty, staff and students” and an “Undocumented Student Speaker Series."
  • The initiative was launched on April 19 as part of "National Coming Out Day" for illegal immigrants.
  • Oberlin College has pledged to create “safe spaces” on campus where “undocumented students can thrive.”

    The Oberlin Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) is pursuing eight unique strategies to support illegal immigrant students, including the creation of campus “safe spaces,” the creation of “sources of financial aid equity,” and hiring staff and faculty “to support undocumented students.”

    "We will not collaborate with...agencies seeking to establish the legal immigration status of students."   

    Quietly inaugurated on April 19 as part of National Coming Out Day for illegal immigrants, the strategies to support illegal immigrants are ongoing. To that end, the MRC encourages students to sign the petition to make Oberlin a “sanctuary campus,” and encourages people to donate to their illegal immigrant scholarship fund.

    Oberlin has also pledged to “start an undocumented student support group or club,” and host events to “increase campus awareness for and of undocumented students.”

    Supporting illegal immigrants is in-line with the MRC’s Mission and Values statement, which describes the office as a “gathering place for the collaborative support of historically disenfranchised communities,” which include “students of color,” and “DACA/undocumented students.”

    The Resource Center was created after a “series of bias incidents” took place in 1993, according to the center’s timeline. While the center was initially designed to support “four historically underrepresented communities at Oberlin: Black/African-American, Asian/Asian-American, Latino/a/x, and LGBTQ students,” the scope of its mission has since expanded, and now includes supporting “undocumented students” and “students with disabilities.”

    So far, the center boasts the successful creation of “ally training programs for faculty, staff and students” and the implementation of an “Undocumented Student Speaker Series,” according to the center’s list of “successful outcomes.”

    Oberlin College has pledged to admit “all qualified students regardless of immigration status and meeting the full demonstrated financial need of all admitted students.”

    Campus Reform reached out to Oberlin College to learn more about the “safe spaces” and efforts to increase “awareness of and for undocumented students” it has pledged to create, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen

    Toni Airaksinen is a New Jersey-based Campus Reform contributor, and previously served as a Senior Campus Correspondent. Her reporting focuses on campus First Amendment, Title IX, Equal Opportunity, and due process issues, and her stories have been profiled by numerous outlets including Fox News, The New York Post, PBS News, and The Washington Examiner.
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