Nearly 770 petition Texas State to declare itself ‘sanctuary’ campus

Petition requests

The petition lists a series of requests for Texas State University’s administration and student government.

“We urge that Texas State University’s administration:

  • Declare Texas State University a sanctuary for undocumented students, workers, and community members.
  • Guarantee student privacy by refusing to release information regarding the immigration status of students, staff, and/or university community members.
  • Prohibit campus housing discrimination based on immigration status.
  • Take measures to increase visibility, access, and expansion of resources for immigrant, black, LGBTQIA, Muslim, and other underrepresented populations (e.g. confidential counseling services, advocacy networks).
  • Bolster existing policies to address and denounce hostility and hate speech in our university community.
  • In the event of the arrest, imprisonment, detainment, and/or deportation of a student, enact arrangements for the online continuation of their courses enabling the completion of their degree programs.”

More than 750 Texas State University students, faculty, staff and alumni have signed an online petition asking university administrators to declare the school a “sanctuary” for undocumented students and staff.

The petition, addressed to Texas State President Denise Trauth and Provost Gene Bourgeois, outlines concerns about troubling incidents on and near campus after Donald Trump won the Nov. 8 presidential election. In one instance, fliers circulated on campus that touted support for “our man Trump” and threatened school leaders with attacks for spouting “diversity garbage.”

“In the past month, fliers have been posted on the Texas State campus calling for ‘tar & feather vigilante squads’ to ‘arrest and torture…university leaders,’ ” the petition states. “In addition, a male student was assaulted in a LGBTQIA hate crime just a block from campus. In another incident, the university lost a widely revered campus student leader in a tragic suicide.”

The petition acknowledges that university leaders responded to the incidents with emails and social media posts calling for unity and urging students to report all threats to University Police. But the petition says the response has fallen short.

“These responses are reactive at best and do not actively promote an environment that ensures the safety of our most vulnerable community members,” the petition states. “Our vision of a sanctuary campus involves actively and vigilantly protecting Texas State University’s most vulnerable populations through administrative policies.”

Texas State spokesperson Matt Flores said the university is still reviewing the petition and that he does not yet know when or if the administration will respond.

The petition cited concerns over Trump’s campaign pledge to deport millions of undocumented immigrants and the call by his surrogates for a national registry for Muslims. It also asserts that university officials haven’t adequately communicated how they will respond if Trump repeals President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a policy that safeguards students who are not citizens from deportation, grants them authorization to work and enables them to get a driver’s license.

Texas State sophomore and a student with DACA status Lesly De Leon said she was one of the 768 who signed the petition because she knows what it’s like to be vulnerable in the current political climate. She wants protection not only for herself but also for other minority communities, including Muslims and gay Americans.

“Immigration—that’s a really important topic to me, and all the petition is asking for is to get the administration to listen to our concerns and do what they can to protect these vulnerable students,” De Leon said.

Texas State junior May Olvera said it’s important to her that leaders publicly declare Texas State a sanctuary campus because as a Mexican immigrant herself, she knows what people are fleeing from when they come to America.

“I was extremely privileged to have an American grandfather who passed the nationality down to me, but I don’t think that gives me more of a right to life, security or education than students who come here through DACA,” Olvera said. “And it’s important the university protects those students, because some students, if deported, would be sent back to poverty, hunger, violence and maybe even death. They’re here actively working hard to earn an education that would help them and their families, and to not protect something so noble is inherently wrong.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Local

Report: Texas water supplies in farm country pose cancer risks

Researchers with a nonprofit environmental advocacy group warn that high levels of contaminants in drinking water supplies in rural areas of Texas — including Central Texas — and across the country increase risks of cancer and birth defects, according to a report released Tuesday. The Environmental Working Group says drinking water in farm...
Police: Austin man breaks jaw of person he wrongly thought he knew
Police: Austin man breaks jaw of person he wrongly thought he knew

An Austin man is accused of breaking the jaw of another man who he incorrectly thought he knew, an arrest affidavit said. Bryan Griffin, 44, was charged with aggravated assault, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Griffin walked into a Walgreens at 10600 W. Parmer Lane on Sept. 29 and saw a man standing at a register, the...
Former Austin broadcaster, lawmaker remembered for his talents, charm
Former Austin broadcaster, lawmaker remembered for his talents, charm

Marvin “Dan” Love, an Austin broadcasting pioneer and former city lawmaker, died Friday. He was 88. Love became a newscaster for KTBC-TV (also known as Fox 7 Austin) and later ran KHFI-TV (now known as KXAN) as its general manager from 1965 to 1974. He was elected to the Austin City Council in 1971 and re-elected in 1973, serving as mayor...
As jump in water bills riles Circle C residents, few answers from city
As jump in water bills riles Circle C residents, few answers from city

In the 30 years Gordon and Valerie Brown have lived in Austin — 12 in their home on York Bridge Circle in the Circle C development — their recent utility bill was the first one that’s come as a surprise. The couple’s August water bill was only $20. Then, in the billing period from Aug. 25 to Sept. 26 — time that included...
UPDATE: Package delivered to San Marcos school declared safe, officials say
UPDATE: Package delivered to San Marcos school declared safe, officials say

8:30 p.m. update: A suspicious package that was delivered to Goodnight Middle School in San Marcos has been deemed safe after students were evacuated and all activities were canceled, the San Marcos school district said Monday evening on Facebook. “We look forward to seeing you all tomorrow morning at our regular scheduled start time,”...
More Stories