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Why Becoming a Sanctuary Campus Matters

In the recent student body election on February 22, 66.1% of voters passed a referendum calling for Florida State University to become a “sanctuary campus”. Since Trump’s inauguration, students at universities across the country have begun rallying for their schools to protect undocumented immigrants by prohibiting Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) from coming onto campus. However, this vote only acts as a message that most the student body believes FSU should become a sanctuary campus, and it is up to our administration to decide whether or not to implement the referendum.

Ideally, by becoming a sanctuary campus, FSU would create a safe space for undocumented students to continue their educations without fear of the university turning over their information to ICE officials. It would send a message that despite our current president and his supporters immigrants are welcome in America and deserving of essential human rights.

Courtesy: Fight Back News

In January, President Thrasher issued a statement stating that the university would continue to maintain “confidentiality and privacy of students’ and employees’ information.” At this point, it isn’t enough to claim that we are an inclusive and progressive campus. It is time to take action.

To some, proclaiming Florida State a “sanctuary campus” may seem risky, but the question of whether public universities are legally allowed to protect undocumented students by refusing to aid federal ICE officials, seems slightly hypocritical, considering mass deportation is not legal.

Too many people claim to be neutral or think that political compromise is the best option. Neutrality appeals to us because it is easy; it’s safe. You cannot be neutral on a moving train. You cannot be neutral when lives are at stake.

As Michael Roth, president of Wesleyan University, a sanctuary campus in Connecticut puts it, “it says something about the urgency of our political dilemma when asking the government to obey their own laws inspires fear in its citizens”.

Becoming a sanctuary campus is a positive step. It’s a reminder that compliance isn’t our only option. We can show undocumented students that they are not alone in this fight. We can give a voice to the oppressed. We can maintain our compassion. We can stay standing.

I am currently a junior at Florida State University studying Editing, Writing and Media and Communications. I'm passionate about writing and using my voice to raise awareness for social issues and to connect with others. In my free time, I'm probably baking cookies or binge-watching Friends.
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