Katie Sims / Sun Staff Photographer

November 28, 2016

Cornell Departments Support Undocumented Students

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Over 15 Cornell departments, programs and assemblies have released statements supporting undocumented students in response to concerns that Cornellians may face deportation after Donald Trump alters immigration policies.

These statements follow a petition published Nov. 18 and signed by over 2,000 Cornellians, requesting that the University to continue its financial support of undocumented students and become a “sanctuary campus” protecting students from deportation.

In a statement released yesterday, over 50 law school professors called upon the University to support undocumented students, as requested by the sanctuary petition, citing their “obligation” to protect civil rights “in a time when it appears they may be under attack.”

At its Nov. 21 meeting, the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly also passed a resolution in support of the petition. The resolution’s main goal was to create a “more official channel” for the petition to receive a response from the administration, as the president must respond to GPSA resolutions within 30 days of their submission, according to Ekarina Winarto grad.

“Moving forward, we hope that other assemblies will do the same to express a strong and united front in support of this petition,” Winarto said.

The Student Assembly, University Assembly and Faculty Senate will consider similar resolutions at their upcoming meetings, according to Prof. Edward Baptist, a media representative for the Cornell Coalition for Collaborative Democracy.

In statements published online, many of the University’s academic departments also affirmed solidarity with Cornellians “who are grappling with the sense that their lives have just become more vulnerable and insecure.”

“Teaching and researching [these] issues means recognizing, and never forgetting, the difficult and often precarious situations of people whose daily lives are the concrete expression of these issues,” the Asian American studies program wrote in a statement.

The Latin American studies program echoed this sentiment, adding that community support is especially vital for defending Cornellians threatened by a president who has repeatedly shown “contempt for a broad swath of the population in this country.”

The Africana studies and history departments, as well as the Latina/o studies programs, also stressed the importance of supporting marginalized students.

“Speak your truth and remember that many people across this nation, and around the world, share our discomfort,” the Latina/o studies program said. “We are not alone.”

Other departments — including history of art and visual studies, government and American studies — expressed broader concerns about “escalations in xenophobic, racist and sexist incidents” that have occurred after Trump’s election.

Such incidents “are often fueled by fake news, and a lack of critical engagement with the nation’s historical and contemporary realities,” the American studies program said.

The government department pledged to teach “about intolerance, but … not practice it.”

“We write about xenophobia and bigotry, but will not pretend they only exist elsewhere,” the department wrote. “We research racism, homophobia and misogyny, but will not permit them to pass unchallenged.”