Commitment to Community Regarding Immigration Status

December 6, 2016

Dear Members of the Campus Community,

Following up on my message to campus of November 18, and in response to a petition delivered to me, Vice President for Academic Affairs Kris Bartanen and the Board of Trustees on November 21, I write today to update you on the university's commitment to support all members of our academic community regardless of immigration status or religious affiliation.

The statement below is posted on the Puget Sound website, along with a list of resources to assist those members of our community who have concerns regarding their immigration status.

Thank you for your support of these commitments and the work you do every day to help us be the fully welcoming and inclusive campus we aspire to be.

Sincerely,

Isiaah
Isiaah Crawford | President

 

Commitment to Support Students, Faculty, and Staff Regardless of Immigration Status or Religious Affiliation

The safety and well-being of every member of our campus community is at the heart of our commitment to being a fully welcoming and inclusive space for all who live, work, and learn at University of Puget Sound. All members of our academic community should be free to live and learn without fear.

Our values as an institution call for us to support all members of the Puget Sound community regardless of citizenship or immigration status, as well as religion, sex, race, color, national origin, creed, age, disability, marital or familial status, sexual orientation, veteran or military status, gender identity, or any other basis protected by law.

Higher education provides tangible benefits to our society as a whole, and we are committed to offering services and resources that help our students achieve their educational goals. To this end, our commitment to nondiscrimination includes equal protection under the law, as well as:

Enrollment and financial aid. As has been our practice, Puget Sound welcomes undocumented students to apply for admission and offers institutional financial aid regardless of immigration status. We assist undocumented students in accessing state and other aid for which they are eligible.

Protection of privacy. Puget Sound protects the privacy of all members of the campus community in accordance with federal and state privacy laws, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.  We will not release information about the immigration status of students, faculty, or staff unless consent is given or we are compelled to do so by law. The university will do everything in its legal and moral authority to protect the privacy of our campus members.

Cooperation with immigration enforcement officials. Puget Sound will not voluntarily cooperate with immigration enforcement officials and agents or assist in any efforts to interrogate or detain, or deport our students, faculty, or staff solely on the basis of their immigration status, unless compelled to do so by law.

Support for members of our campus community. Puget Sound provides many resources to support those who may have concerns about their immigration status. For additional information please contact Dave Wright, university chaplain and director for spiritual life and civic engagement, dwright@pugetsound.edu, for personalized referrals.

These commitments are consistent with those of many colleges and universities that have adopted the “sanctuary campus” label, a term for which there is no legal definition at this time. While understanding the symbolic value of declaring Puget Sound a sanctuary campus, we recognize that adopting such a label carries with it the potential for serious ramifications that could adversely affect the very populations we seek to support.  For this reason, we have set forth above the protections, opportunities, and services afforded to every member of our campus community, to assert not only our values but also the ways in which we will continue to work under the law to safeguard and support our students, faculty, and staff.