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

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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.