Earlier in the semester, shortly after President Donald Trump announced the international travel ban, the Stout Student Association (SSA) began working with other University of Wisconsin System schools to become a sanctuary campus.
According to SSA documentation, the purpose of a sanctuary campus is to “protect all students, faculty and staff from intimidation, unfair investigation and deportation by campus, state and federal officers,” and it is meant to ensure the safety of undocumented students.
On April 25, 2017, the SSA voted to move forward with the process of becoming an official sanctuary campus. This process will involve a request for Chancellor Bob Meyer to declare that Stout is taking the necessary steps: speaking with fellow UW schools about becoming sanctuary campuses and starting a discussion with undocumented students about their needs and wants.
In order to officially be officially named a sanctuary campus, Stout will need UW System President Ray Cross’ approval. If that approval is granted, then all of the schools in the UW System will be named sanctuary campuses.
Former SSA representative, Connor Hobart, posted this statement in regards to the decision to his Facebook profile: “This is a big step in the student-led effort to make Stout a safe and affordable university for undocumented students. I hope that we can now move into conversations and collaboration with the people who will be most affected by these changes, and conversations with the people who have decision-making power.” Hobart was one of the primary student voices behind the proposal back in February.
Some of the effects that would be seen if this movement follows through, as requested by the resolution by SSA, could include asking all churches associated with University of Wisconsin–Stout to declare themselves “sanctuary churches” and asking said churches to provide refuge for any student facing potential deportation. The resolution also requested that UW–Stout take the steps necessary to ensure undocumented students have access to an equal chance at enrollment, including an announcement that they will knowingly accept undocumented students. This would also include offering scholarships and other forms of financial aid specifically for undocumented students.
There are many other ways this resolution will affect undocumented students, if it is ultimately passed. Though we likely won’t see any immediate changes to our campus, Director of Diversity and Inclusivity William Chang stated, “I am anticipating a lot of discussion about this. Once the campus climate survey comes out, that is when I want to bring this resolution back up. I want to create an open forum for… students to voice their opinions on [a sanctuary campus].”
This article was edited to clarify that SSA passed a resolution to support Stout as a sanctuary campus, not a resolution that officially designated Stout as a sanctuary campus.