Students, faculty, staff, alumni, family members and other members of the Wake Forest community are invited to sign the following letter to President Hatch. Please note that this is a public letter, so only sign if you willing to have your name appear publicly (email addresses will not be made public).
November 29, 2016
Nathan O. Hatch, President of Wake Forest University
Re: Wake Forest as a Sanctuary for Undocumented Immigrants
Dear President Hatch,
In the wake of the recent Presidential election, we – the undersigned students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other members of the Wake Forest community – ask you to take immediate steps to make Wake Forest University a sanctuary campus for students, staff, and their family members who face deportation under President-elect Donald J. Trump’s proposed policies. We also urge you to make a public commitment to supporting and ensuring the safety of people of color, LGBTQ+ community members, women, Muslims, low-income students, people with disabilities, and all other individuals whose safety will be jeopardized by Trump’s proposed policies and the hatred and violence he has legitimized.
The president-elect has promised to deport millions of immigrants, 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. The policies of the incoming administration will put the undocumented members of our community at great risk. The threat to students, workers, and their families requires a concrete and tangible response from the University. We write in solidarity with other students, faculty and staff across the country who have called upon their schools to take similar action. We also write in response to the resolution passed by the American Association of University Professors in support of the sanctuary campus movement.
An internal 2011 memo clarifies that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers are subject to certain restrictions upon entering University campuses. Therefore, Wake Forest University can and should use its position to protect its undocumented community members from law enforcement. As an institution that is committed to upholding Pro Humanitate values of respect for individuals and communities, the University must ensure that it remains a place that actively protects the rights and safety of its community members.
For these reasons, we ask that you adopt a public, written policy communicating the following protections:
1. The University ensures that student privacy remains guaranteed and thus refuses all voluntary information sharing with ICE/CBP across all aspects of the University to the fullest extent possible under the law;
2. The University refuses ICE physical access to all land owned or controlled by the University;
3. The University prohibits campus security from inquiring about or recording an individual’s immigration status or enforcing immigration laws or participating with ICE/CBP in actions;
4. The University does not use E-verify;
5. The University prohibits housing discrimination based on immigration status;
6. The University guarantees existing financial aid packages to undocumented students and pledges that future aid packages will not be determined by immigration status;
7. The University pledges to provide robust support services for undocumented students, for example (but not limited to) legal aid and counseling services;
8. The University vows to ensure the safety of women, people of color, LGBTQ+ community members, Muslims, low-income students, people with disabilities, and all other individuals who will face heightened threat over the coming months and years. In particular, the University should expedite implementation of the recommendations in regards to diversity and inclusion outlined on the Wake Forest Community in Progress website. In addition, the University should ensure that the bias reporting and response system is robust enough to respond to any hate crimes or bias incidents that occur on campus in the wake of the election.
This policy shall be enforced by all University staff and all contractors and subcontractors and their employees working on property owned or controlled by the University.
Additionally, we request that the University commit to ongoing dialogue with the students about additions to the University policy and support for community efforts that protect immigrants and other members of marginalized communities who study, live, and work at the University and their families and the community.
We share the sentiment that you expressed in the wake of the election: “We are a community in which everyone needs to feel safe and welcome. Our words and behavior affect those around us. We can use them to encourage and lift up others, or we can use them to harm and tear down. Our Wake Forest community is built on the foundation of mutual respect, kindness and honor.”
We are confident that Wake Forest University’s declaration as a sanctuary campus will serve as a step in fulfilling this vision. We owe it to our campus’ most vulnerable members to be a safe and welcoming space for students of all backgrounds who might feel threatened under the incoming presidential administration.
Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni, and Other Members of the Wake Forest Community