Southwestern Sanctuary Campus
December 5, 2016
Dear Dean Prager,
A guiding belief at Southwestern Law School is that our students and our educators belong to a community of diverse students, alum, scholars and lawyers. Members of our community often work to right societal wrongs through the law, and to represent the values that our Constitution was founded upon. Importantly, the skills such work demands are honed in an environment that is both inclusive and tolerant. These professed ideals are more important now than ever.
Throughout the election campaign, Donald Trump has advocated aggressive and punitive measures against undocumented immigrants and Muslims, as well as legal changes that stand to harm many others, including women and LGBTQ people. Now his election as president presents significant challenges for our campus community and makes many members of our community feel heightened anxiety.
Specifically, Donald Trump has promised to deport millions of undocumented immigrants from the United States and end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which currently provides deportation relief for undocumented youth and grants authorization to work in the US. These attacks on immigrants and their families are an affront to our entire community.
We, the undersigned alumni of Southwestern petition Southwestern Law School to immediately develop a protocol for making itself a safe school, including for undocumented students, staff, and workers. In doing so, we join universities and colleges across the country, including UC Berkeley, the Cal State University system (the largest public university system in the nation), UT Austin, University of Michigan, and University of Wisconsin, in taking concrete steps to ensure a safe and secure environment for education, research, and service.
To make our school a safe haven in these difficult times we strongly encourage Southwestern Law School to take the following concrete actions:
- Publicly reaffirm the school’s commitment to support and protect all of its students and staff, regardless of their citizenship status, religion, ethnicity, sex orientation, or national origin;
- Publicly reaffirm the school’s commitment to create a campus atmosphere of tolerance and respect by denouncing any hostility directed at immigrant, minority, and LGBTQ students or staff, and by developing resources for reporting and responding to hostile incidents;
- Publicly reaffirm current admission and financial aid policies regarding undocumented students to the extent these policies support immigrant students, and to adjust these policies to further protect such students;
- To the extent possible under the law, to adopt as the school’s policy a commitment to the utmost protection of all the members of its community, including refraining from cooperation with any governmental effort to gather information regarding students’ immigration status;
- To the extent possible under the law, to adopt as the school’s policy a commitment to limit cooperation with any immigration enforcement actions such as arrests, interviews, searches and surveillance for purposes of immigration enforcement. The school’s policy will comply with the current October 24, 2011 Department of Homeland Security policy on enforcement actions at sensitive locations;
- Publicly reaffirm the school’s commitment to provide services to the community on immigration-related matters;
- Commit to develop and provide strictly confidential counseling services for community members who are affected by the current political climate.
We believe that Donald Trump’s campaign, proposed policies, and planned appointments to key positions pose a grave threat to the Southwestern Law School’s mission of equity, diversity, tolerance, and inclusion. Given these dire circumstances, we urge continued conversation and concrete action from the school’s administration.
John M. Manley