Interim President Hunter Rawlings said Cornell is committed to supporting its undocumented students.

Michael Li / Sun Staff Photographer

Interim President Hunter Rawlings said Cornell is committed to supporting its undocumented students.

November 22, 2016

Rawlings Promises Cornell Will ‘Support and Defend’ Undocumented Students

Print More

Responding to a recent letter demanding that Cornell become a “sanctuary campus” for undocumented students, Interim President Hunter Rawlings reaffirmed the University’s intent to “stand with every Cornellian.”

In a statement released Tuesday — after the sanctuary petition garnered over 2,000 signatures from students, faculty and alumni — Rawlings addressed concerns about the future of undocumented students at Cornell during Donald Trump’s presidency.

Rawlings stressed that the equal status the University offers to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival students — eligible immigrants who entered the country as children and are protected from deportation — will remain in place for undergraduates.

All DACA students will be able to receive the same need-based financial aid as U.S. citizens and incoming or transfer DACA students will remain eligible for need-blind admission, Rawlings said.

Addressing the letter’s request to support undocumented students’ mental health, Rawlings cited Cornell’s “wide array” of information and counseling services a a resource for students to utilize.

The interim president added that the University is “committed” to keeping student information private, after the sanctuary petition requested that the administration decline to release any information that could place students at risk of deportation.

“We are determined to ensure that all can participate fully and freely in the life of the institution, that we embrace the diversity represented by those who join our campuses and that we support and defend the most vulnerable among us,” Rawlings said.

Rawlings did not respond to the letter’s request that Cornell resist a future “intrusion” of immigration officials on campus. Responding to a nearly identical petition, Brown University’s president and provost said in an op-ed last week that as a private university, Brown would not be legally able to defy any such federal mandate.

  • acturg

    Trust that Cornell will comply with Federal Law, correct?

    If not … then what message is being sent to students?

    • Jdub

      That sometimes, what is right is not what is legal? And that we have an ethical obligation to resist unjust laws?

      • Henry Mattis

        What specific statute are we talking about and in what way is it unjust?

        • PurpleRose

          Perhaps a law that would round up hundreds of thousands of young people who could be a tremendous part of the future of our nation, and dump them in a Mexico desert.

          Perhaps the laws that entangle criminal law with immigration enforcement.

          Perhaps the laws and systems that allow suffering to flourish in Mexico, and the laws of the Byzantine immigration system here that prevent people from seeking relief.

          There’s a long list of possibilities here, Henry, it just takes a little imagination.

          • ………

            Perhaps a law that would round up hundreds of thousands of young people who could be a tremendous part of the future of our nation, and dump them in a Mexico desert.

            so your understanding of US immigration laws is that mr mean ICE man come and take mr illegal drives him across the border and leaves him to die in the desert?

            you truly have no idea how anything works you sheltered child….

  • Hal

    The government should not provide any future research grants to Cornell, which would likely remove tens of millions of dollars of funding for the University. Also, no federal aid should be provided to any Cornell student.

    • Tired Boy

      Thanks for that in-depth input Hal! It really pushes forward an important decision we need to have! It’s really great when people just say things without justifying it! Assertions are great! That’s what we should teach! Blind agreement without reasoning! Great! Awesome! Cool!

  • Alumnus

    These comments are very sad to me. We’re talking about young, vulnerable students who are members of our community. These people committed no crimes and just want to remain at Cornell and continue to strive for the greatness they worked so hard for. DACA students have likely experienced hardship that a vast majority of Cornell students have never experienced or even thought about while growing up, and now their very existence in our country is being threatened. If they need support, Cornell providing that support is 100% the right thing to do. The Cornell community is huge but it doesn’t mean we should turn our backs on one another during a time like this.

    • Ronnie

      “These people committed no crimes”

      Well actually no…

      • PurpleRose

        Immigration law isn’t criminal law. If you cross the border w/o a visa or let you visa expire it’s a civil infraction, not a criminal one. This is also why it’s so problematic to have the police involved in immigration law, and to have prison-like ICE detention centers, because then you have a dangerous intermixing where issues that should be handled in the civil system are treated like criminal acts.

    • Marmaduke

      they don’t belong here

      what part of that don’t understand?

      I’m tired of following the law and getting nothing for it: other people break the law and have all these people supporting them

      fucking sick of it

  • borris batanov

    Simple fact: Federal law trumps defiant douches like Rawlings. But then again this is nothing but pretense, mere grandstanding puff. Nobody cares about illegal aliens unless they’re criminals, on the one hand, or can be exploited for cheap labor, on the other. Oops, sorry to intrude with harsh reality in the fantasy bullsh!t of Cornell faculty. This college is intellectually empty. Why is anyone paying $50k a year to be here?

    • Levelheaded

      Because it’s possible to avoid the BS. Major in a legit field, take the hard, serious classes, screw brown nosing and fussing over every point on your GPA. Only do the things that are of value. Despite the cancer academia has, it still has a lot to offer.

  • Cornelius

    The quotes are around the wrong words in the headline.

    The headline says: Rawlings Promises Cornell Will ‘Support and Defend’ Undocumented Students

    It should be: Rawlings Promises Cornell Will Support and Defend ‘Undocumented’ Students

    But political correctness requires us to use the word “undocumented” instead of “illegal immigrant”, and put quotes around “Support and Defend” instead.

    • PurpleRose

      It’s not a mattter of ‘political correctness,’ it’s a matter of improper use of language. Even if we accept the assumption that a civil infraction can be considered an illegal act, the term ‘illegal immigrant’ is still wrong, because it applies the adjective (‘illegal’) to a noun that doesn’t accept it. In our system, People can commit unlawful acts, but they, as individuals, cannot be illegal. Thus it is correct to talk about ‘illegal immigration,’ and it is correct to call individuals ‘people who immigrated illegally,’ but that’s a bit of a mouthful, so generally, the preferred (and also less dehumanizing term) is undocumented immigrants, as folks who immigrate illegally are often undocumented anywhere.

    • Alum

      The quotes are placed around support and defend because those are the words Rawling used in the announcement. They’re quoting him. It has nothing to do with political correctness.

  • W. Obersby

    Missing the larger point. Who really cares what Rawlings says (if ever, and especially at this point)? Seriously. Is he still here? Move on already…

    • borris batanov

      Would love to see Rawlings in prison for violating federal law, just as I would love to see the Clinton’s do time. Enough with these elites walking all over the law.

      “Sanctuary” cities should lose federal funding (just dreaming).

      So tired of Progressive lawlessness.

      • Sick of Paid Commentary

        You literally forgot to make up an American name under which to publish your astroturf nonsense.

        Go back to ruining your own community, leave ours alone.

  • Levelheaded

    Can someone please explain to me why a university president can/should overrule a US president? This is really getting to be pathetic.

  • DeShawn Brown

    Let’s all calm down, and let’s all maybe read past the headline before commenting.

    Rawlings did not state that the university will resist immigration laws in any way. He simply stated that students currently legally eligible for certain types of financial aid because they fall under DACA will continue to be treated that way… because it’s the law. DACA is an executive order issued by President Obama, is currently in place, and will remain in place unless it is revoked by a U.S. president, present or future. Rawlings did not comment on what would happen if DACA is revoked, but we can assume that Cornell will comply with any new law as well.

    This is not a discussion about how just U.S. immigration law is, or about whether academia thinks it’s so just and ethical and revolutionary that it gets to stand above that law. It’s a discussion about what compliance with current law looks like. That’s all. And in those terms, Rawlings’ answer is spot on. Cornell follows the laws currently in place.

  • William Olney

    Why does Cornell accept “undocumented” students?

    • Mark

      Cornell accepts undocumented students because they are academically qualified. They are also legally qualified because of the policy of the United States government. Among the factors in their being academically qualified: they speak, read and write excellent educated English, in part because they have lived in this country since the age of three or four or five, or in the case of one student, for all but the first 100 days of his life; they have attended kindergarten, primary school, middle school and high school here, and they have compiled such an enviable academic record as to qualify for admission to a place like Cornell.

      Cornell also accepts a large number of students from foreign countries for the same reason: because they, too, are academically qualified. Those students are also legally qualified because of the policy of the United States government.

  • Pingback: Rawlings Details University Plan to Protect Undocumented Students – Cornell University The Cornell Daily Sun | SelfHelpEA()

  • Pingback: Moral Messaging: The Case for Sanctuary Campus Status - Harvard Political Review()