Trump reaction: UNT, TWU students call for sanctuary campus

Trump reaction: UNT, TWU students call for sanctuary campus

Trump reaction: UNT, TWU students call for sanctuary campus
November 29
18:36 2016

Amid the aftermath of president-elect Donald Trump’s victory, students at UNT and Texas Woman’s University are pressuring UNT officials to make UNT a sanctuary campus, which would prohibit the federal government from removing undocumented students, faculty and staff from UNT grounds.

UNT students Stephanie Plancarte and David Lopez, and TWU student Maddie Fenn plan to lead a protest today that will begin at both campuses and end up at the Denton Courthouse. They sent a copy to the UNT administration, found here, and made an online petition, here.

Lopez, an English and education senior, said this movement is important to those who belong in marginalized groups, including immigrants, people of color and the LGBTQ community.

“We want our campuses to become sanctuaries so that we will know that the administration cares about its students who feel most marginalized because of this election,” Lopez said. “We hope the outcome will be for the university to agree on becoming a sanctuary along with other universities across the nation. We have faith that this will work and we will make our voices heard.”

One of Trump’s promises is to deport criminal immigrants and, as he famously said throughout his campaign, build a more than 2,000 mile-long wall between the United States and Mexico. His policy on immigration will target large cities, as many of them have declared themselves sanctuary cities. Sanctuary cities restrict state and local governments from alerting federal authorities about people who may be in that city illegally.

Cities like New York City, Washington, D.C., Miami, Los Angeles and Portland have taken a strong stance defending undocumented immigrants, and all constituted winning places for Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 election. In Texas, sanctuary cities include Dallas, Houston and Austin.

Recently, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that he is going to stop funding the sanctuary cities in Texas. Abbott’s visit to campus last year sparked widespread debate on campus, largely coming from Hispanic students who do not support the Republican Party’s immigration policies.

On a post on the Denton Matters page on Facebook, residents discussed the possibility of making Denton a sanctuary city.

On Nov. 11, UNT President Neal Smatresk sent out a university-wide email, telling students that UNT is an honest and caring community.

“Thank you for coming together this week to openly, respectfully and peacefully discuss your feelings and thoughts about the outcome of the Presidential election and its possible implications for our nation at home and abroad,” Smatresk said in the email. “Our campus community, like our nation, holds many points of view about what is good and right for our country, and I am encouraged by the way our community has responded to one another with discourse that reflects intellect, empathy and understanding.”

The morning after the general election, UNT students joined thousands across the nation to protest Trump’s presidency. University officials did not interfere with campus protests, which took place in Library Mall, one of the university’s designated free speech areas.

Students from UNT and TWU are coming together to help other students feel safe on campus, and not have their education suffer from not being a citizen of the United States.

International studies senior, Plancarte, said that she felt the need to make UNT a sanctuary campus from the emotions a lot of students were feeling after the presidential election.

Plancarte said she saw a few flyers around campus about a white supremacist group recruiting people. Her biggest fear is border control going to universities and taking students away.

“Our goal is to help these students who feel like they are harmed, feel prejudice and see hate crimes,” Plancarte said. “FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) can be taken away from universities and share information about undocumented students, whose rights to privacy could be taken away. My parents think that because I was born here, I’m not at risk and shouldn’t be protesting. But that makes me feel more urge to do this and help people.”

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Julia Falcon

Julia Falcon

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