Prof. Joe Margulies, government and law, addresses the protesters gathered in the Arts Quad.

Gabriela Lopez/ Sun Staff Videographer

Prof. Joe Margulies, government and law, addresses the protesters gathered in the Arts Quad.

March 2, 2017

Protesters Demand Sanctuary, Funding for Undocumented Cornellians and IC Students

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Cornell students and faculty gathered on the Arts Quad Thursday to demand that the University set up a designated fund for Cornellians with and without DACA status and strengthen its commitment to keeping student information private from federal immigration agents.

Prof. Russell Rickford, history, was an organizer of the event named “Sanctuary Now Cornell: Solidarity against Tyranny.” He estimated that 250 to 300 people attended the protest, which was hosted by Cornell Coalition for Inclusive Democracy.

CCID also asked the University to give housing and resources to students unable to travel, become a refuge for scholars “fleeing dangerous situations abroad” and “fight” in Albany and Washington D.C. to safeguard the community.

Students and faculty who gathered on the freezing but sunny Arts Quad listened to speeches regarding the rights of undocumented people and oppressive systems in the United States.

“Our endangered community members still lack explicit assurance that the institution that took them in will protect them,” Rickford said. “That’s shameful.”

Rickford led the crowd in chants including, “No ban. No wall. Sanctuary for all.” He also told the audience that “today we say no.”

“No more deportations,” he announced, “No more raids. No more fear. None of us live with dignity while such atrocities continue.”

Prof. Joe Margulies, government and law, said it is easy for future students to look back and imagine that they would have protested.

“Nothing is easier than to mythologize moments in the past and and to think, from the safe distance of time and space, that you would resist injustice when it appeared,” Margulies said. “You believe that you would oppose the Palmer Raids a century ago, but most people didn’t.”

He also spoke about how people protesting these struggles will not be in the majority.

“The truth is most people will never stand with you,” he said. “You will always be in a minority. But, the truth is, we look back on those periods now as periods of grave injustice, where time has turned against what was done. And you don’t need the majority; what you need is a very dedicated, involved minority.”

Cornell students — documented and undocumented alike — also spoke during the protest.

“Coming here, I walk through this quad everyday, and I look up at that clock tower, and I think that this institution was founded to be a place where any person can find instruction in any study, but Cornell puts barriers up in front of all undocumented people,” said Julia Montejo ’17, who identified herself as an undocumented student with DACA status.

Montejo said she did not receive financial aid from Cornell for three years and had to get aid from other sources.

“I had to sacrifice meals. I had to sacrifice having the right books. I had to do everything to thrive at this school,” Montejo said. “Now that Cornell’s caught up, which is a little late for many people, Cornell is refusing to explicitly state that CUPD will not cooperate with ICE. It’s refusing to explicitly state that they won’t help remove people.”

Angela Sun ’18 said the University should not be “swayed by the fear” of carrying out something because it is considered “super liberal.”

“As a university that’s full of so many different types of students, to have an administration that is very homogenous in either their thoughts, or their race, or their ethnicity, I think that’s a bad reflection of what the students want,” Sun said.

Two students represented Ithaca College in the protest. Anna Gardner, vice president of campus affairs for Ithaca College’s Student Governance Council, said that a recently passed SGC resolution will allow IC students to live in campus housing this summer.

“Currently, affected students can stay on campus during our spring break at no cost, and we’re working with our office of international programs and residential life to provide summer housing for these students as well,” Gardner said.

“Ithaca College and Cornell University have the opportunity to join forces as communities,” she continued. “We must stand together in opposition to discriminatory legislation and strengthen our local movement.”

Sophie May ’20, a participant in the protest, expressed optimism after observing faculty involvement in the rally.

“I’m excited about the idea that our faculty are standing up for both faculty and students and members of the community here who are being targeted or stand to be targeted by the shitty legislation going on in the Trump administration right now,” she said. “I think all the speakers who said this are right, that we have to stand on the right side of history right now. That’s being here.”

  • That is great, lets pay the Illegals from a special fund, and pay it workers, sub wages.

  • acturg

    Where does sanctuary designation begin and end? Where else might it apply? Why shouldn’t any special interest who feels persecuted be afforded the same access to such “funding”?

    … and now the important question: “Who pays for this?”

  • DJT

    It’s just so sad that these people think money will come out of nowhere. Believe me, they would shut the hell up the moment when the university says they’d have to pay extra to cover the additional expenses. Oh wait I think they’ll protest even more, which is all they can do really.

  • Jim

    Fabulous idea!! Spare no expense. Assess every student and faculty ar Cornell their share of the cost (tax) and require that they pay it personally in order to continue at Cornell. It would be a valuable learning experience for them.

  • DNA

    “The power of Congress “to exclude aliens from the United States and to prescribe the terms and conditions on which they come in” is absolute, being an attribute of the United States As a sovereign nation, through the action of the legislative department, can exclude aliens from its territory is a proposition which we do not think open to controversy. Jurisdiction over its own territory to that extent is an incident of every independent nation. It is a part of its independence. If it could not exclude aliens, it would be to that extent subject to the control of another power. *** The United States, in their relation to foreign countries and their subjects or citizens are one nation, invested with powers which belong to independent nations, the exercise of which can be invoked for the maintenance of its absolute independence and security throughout its entire territory.” — SCOTUS 1889

    >>>>>“If Congress can forbid the entry ***, it can punish those who cooperate in their fraudulent entry.” — SCOTUS 1909<<<<<

  • gillian

    Stop funding their education NOW

  • Jake

    So this is what it’s all about. People who have played it by the book their entire life along with their parents cannot get admission into Cornell despite a high SAT, high school GPA and everything else except a strong political connection. So if the following is true:

    One illegal immigrant student spoke about her struggle to obtain financial aid.

    “I had to sacrifice meals. I had to sacrifice having the right books. I had to do everything to thrive at this school,” Julia Montejo said. “Now that Cornell’s caught up, which is a little late for many people, Cornell is refusing to explicitly state that CUPD will not cooperate with ICE.”

    If true then how did this person obtain a social security card? Steal it? I live outside Atlanta and the American contractors complain that the illegal aliens can go into downtown Atlanta and for $2000 obtain a Social Security card while the ones playing by the book suffer. It’s time for the elitist Ivy League to clean up their act and follow United States Code and Law.

    • FAFSA

      You don’t need a social security number to apply for public (and obviously private, which I assume is relevant in this case) financial aid. No where does it indicate she “stole” a social security card.

      • I pay taxes

        Umm Hi I work in college admissions…

        question 8 on the paper FAFSA. You must enter your Social Security Number (SSN) to be considered for Federal Student Aid.

        • Kacey

          The student who spoke is a DACA student. And you’re a racist who needs to stop calling people illegal.

  • Bayley

    Free funding for illegals, but not for citizens? oh ok

    People would never go this hard for black people. oh ok

    No free funding for people that were born here and want to go to school there but don’t want $100K is student loan debt? oh ok.

  • Mary

    Perhaps it is just me, but I can’t find anywhere in the article where it says that undocumented immigrants would be granted free lodging & tuition? In fact I can’t even see where it’s specifically listed as a demand on behalf of the protestors.

  • Jackson

    Perhaps it is just me? Really? Yes at this time its you and the other person who said that you don’t have to provide a social security number for a student loan.? Well I am still paying off my student loan after 16 years and everything I have related to it has my social security number on it for income tax. Oh OK I didn’t fill out FORM U for undocumented. Wink wink. So free lodging and tuition? Where did that come from or are you a fake news blogger. Well Ithaca I sent the story to international blogs and its gaining traction. Time to DEPORT and I contacted the guys with the Guy fawkex hockey masks to investigate.