Staff editorial: Administration must act to help undocumented students at Tulane

In a preemptive effort to prepare for the possibility of President Donald Trump eliminating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Tulane’s Undergraduate Student Government passed a resolution on December 7, 2016, calling for the university administration to designate itself a “sanctuary campus” to protect undocumented students.

A little less than a year later, DACA students find their lives and futures hanging in the balance after Trump formally announced that, beginning in 6 months, DACA will no longer be in effect. This decision leads to the threat of deportation for thousands of young people on and off Tulane’s campus.

It has been almost one year since the USG resolution passed, and the Tulane administration has still not given specific answers or solutions as to whether our campus will become a place of safety and refuge or a place of uncertainty and fear for these students.  

We acknowledge the effort put forward by President Fitts and the administration to comment on these matters very publicly, and we commend the stance taken by Fitts when he signed a statement in support of DACA. Further, in his View from Gibson, he clarified the university’s actual policies on the matter.

But we also recognize that strong words and emailed promises leave many questions unanswered and do not equate to tangible plans to protect the well-being of undocumented students.

A call from the administration to “treat one another with dignity and respect, and to communicate across our political differences” does not eliminate the threat of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials entering our campus.

The reality is Tulane can still be subpoenaed by the federal government for information about undocumented students and will not bar ICE agents from university grounds. It is of dire importance that the administration not only promote an atmosphere of inclusion but also work to ensure actual institutional equity by protecting the students whose educations and lives are threatened by the potential dissolving of DACA.

The resolution passed by USG last year called for the administration to declare Tulane a sanctuary campus, meaning the university would take necessary measures to bar ICE officials from coming to campus to conduct raids and deport undocumented students, including students who are DACA participants.

We call on the administration to declare Tulane an actual sanctuary campus and provide clear and tangible measures like legal aid to protect undocumented students from being detained and deported in the wake of new immigration policies.

Fitts’s View from Gibson and promise to protect the financial aid of undocumented students should DACA be terminated is a big step in the right direction. But it is not enough, and efforts to defend all members of the Tulane community should not end there.

It is time for the Tulane administration to rise to the task, to truly act non sibi, sed suis — not for one’s self, but for one’s own. 

Staff Editorials are written weekly by members of the Tulane Hullabaloo Board and approved by the full Board by a 2/3 majority vote. 

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