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Petition urges Texas State to declare itself ‘sanctuary campus’

Nearly 800 Texas State students, faculty, staff and alumni have signed their names to a petition calling for the university’s administration to declare it a “sanctuary” campus to protect undocumented students and staff.

The petition, created Nov. 23, outlines concerns about recent incidents on and near the San Marcos campus that occured in the wake of the Nov. 8 election of Donald Trump as president. A day after the election, fliers touting support for “our man Trump” circulated on campus 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 document 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.”

Petitioners acknowledge that university leaders have responded to the events, via emails and social media posts, by calling for unity and urging students to report any threats to University Police. However, the petition says the university response falls 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.”

When asked for comment on Monday, Texas State spokesperson Matt Flores told the American-Statesman he was unaware of the petition, but said the school is currently looking into it.

In addition to the petition’s outline of concerns, it lists a series of requests for action on the part of the 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.”

“We urge the Associated Student Government to establish a research committee to:

  • Investigate the needs and concerns of vulnerable populations affected by potential immigration policies.
  • Generate multiple solutions that meet these needs and concerns.
  • Select the best solution possible that:
  • Protects Texas State’s vulnerable populations.
  • Complies with the University’s legal obligations.
  • Can most easily be articulated in the University’s strategic plan.
  • Openly report findings in a timely manner to Texas State’s student body and enact relevant policies accordingly.”

In a recent television interview on “60 Minutes,” President-elect Trump said he was “saddened” to hear that some of his supporters are threatening violence. “If it helps, I will say this … Stop it,” he said.

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