Faculty Senate endorses becoming sanctuary campus

A petition with more than 900 signatures will make its way to the president and provost before the end of the semester.

The Temple Faculty Senate endorsed a letter from the university’s alumni, faculty, workers and students requesting that the university becomes a sanctuary campus Friday afternoon.

The petition, which has more than 900 signatures, will go to President Richard Englert and Provost Joanne Epps before the end of the semester, Michael Sachs, president of the senate, and Larisa K. Mann, an associate professor of media studies and production who helped organize the effort.

The petition asks for the university to only allow cooperate with immigration officers if they have a warrant, and to refuse to release students’ immigration status unless ordered by court order or subpoena. Doing so, the petition reads, would protect undocumented students, staff and their families on all of Temple’s campuses.

“We wanted to get approval from major representative bodies on campus,” Mann said. She was part of the collaboration process among about 40 faculty to organize the petition.

“We have hope because the president has shown his support in a general way,” she said. “We want to make public that we are in alignment with the city and other universities.”

In November, Englert and about 550 other university presidents, chancellors and superintendents signed a “statement of support” for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an Obama administration policy allowing undocumented young people who meet certain requirements to apply to stay in the United States for a two-year, renewable period.

In November, the U.S. elected Donald Trump, who promised on the campaign trail to reverse President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which could include DACA.

The petition from students, staff and faculty also asks Temple to establish an office of administrators and counselors for DACA students on a “strictly confidential basis.”

“I think it’s important for students at Temple to know that they are welcome here and they are supported here,” Student Body President Aron Cowen said. He added that TSG supports Englert’s actions in signing the letter supporting DACA.

Tyrell Mann-Barnes, TSG’s director of Campus Life and Diversity and Melonie Collado, TSG’s chief of staff both signed the petition, but as students and not as representatives of TSG, Cowen said.

The petition includes a call for Temple Police to refrain from asking about immigration status and to not “collaborate” with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It also asks the university to train faculty, Flight shuttle bus operators and Allied Universal officers to learn to de-escalate situations dealing with bias.

Last Friday, university spokesman Brandon Lausch said Temple “complies with legal requirements” when it comes to maintaining and disclosing information about its students, staff and faculty.

Over the last two weeks, both the University of Pennsylvania and Swarthmore College announced they would become sanctuary universities. In November, Mayor Jim Kenney reaffirmed Philadelphia’s status as a sanctuary city, which he restored when he took office.

Julie Christie can be reached at julie.christie@temple.edu or on Twitter @ChristieJules.

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