Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

We, the undersigned, join the Faculty Diversity Committee, and call upon President Lieberman and the University administration to stand with other colleges and universities and make our campus a sanctuary for DACA and undocumented immigrants, their families and related community members who may soon be facing deportation. The President-elect’s promise to deport undocumented immigrants and rescind President Obama’s DACA program on day one of his presidency will directly affect the undocumented students we serve.

With this statement we join with voices now rising spontaneously across the country, alarmed by documented acts of violence occurring coast to coast, directed toward peoples of color, women, LGBTQ individuals and immigrants. Reports from within our La Verne community of racist verbal assaults started almost immediately after the election. Although too early to tell how pervasive these behaviors are now or will become within our community, we believe now is the time to act decisively to signal that such conduct will be met with zero tolerance.

The antagonism we are seeing directed towards immigrants, in particular, is nothing new in the history of California. But never before has this hostility been given such legitimacy from the highest office in the nation. In response, the call to take up the Sanctuary Movement of the mid-1980s is quickly building momentum. La Verne’s Brethren legacy of peace and nonviolence closely align with the moral urgency of the Sanctuary Movement. In that spirit, we call upon you to act to:

• Continue to hold closed-door meetings with students, staff, administration and faculty to hear firsthand the fears and trauma they are experiencing at this time, and support their resilience to endure, resist and defend themselves;

• Immediately declare the entire University campus, including its regional entities, sanctuary for undocumented/DACA immigrants, their families and related community members;

• Immediately declare the entire community campus, including its regional entities, “safe spaces” for people now threatened by rising violence and aggression, including our people of color, women, LGBTQ individuals, religious minorities and other marginalized groups now facing vivid threats of terror against them;

• Guarantee student privacy by refusing to release information regarding immigration status of our students and community members and refuse to comply with immigration authorities regarding deportations or raids;

• Publicly declare our University’s support for and protection of undocumented/DACA immigrants, their families and related community members;

• Network with other universities here in California and elsewhere as possible to amplify the message of sanctuary and solidarity across our nation;

• Requisition resources necessary for the establishment of an Undocumented Student Resource Center, provisioned with full time staff and office space to assist DACA students and other students who lack the privilege of citizenship on a strictly confidential basis;

• Assure that all students will receive a campus, and community experience, free of hostilities, aggressions and bullying by publicizing the campus-wide reporting mechanism and training all staff and faculty in de-escalation intervention techniques.

President Lieberman, you have been an ardent champion of La Verne’s mission to value diversity and inclusivity. That value is under direct attack from the highest office of the nation; an attack that cannot be countenanced if we are to sustain the integrity against which we measure ourselves, and for which you have devoted substantial energy to consolidate and exalt. A national crisis of identity is quickly gathering before us. Only your office has the authority to signal our entire community we will not waver in this time of challenge and crisis.

We thank you for your unswerving commitment and service to our institutional mission and values, and ask you to join us in shared witness to Elie Wiesel’s testament: No Human Being is Illegal.

Paul Alvarez, Professor of Kinesiology
Ingrid Baartman, Associate Professor of Education
Heidy Contreras, Assistant Professor of Biology

Kathy Duncan, Associate Professor of Management
Benjamin Jenkins, Assistant Professor, Library

Nadine Nakamura, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Andy Steck, Associate Professor of Education

Veronica Escoffery-Runnels, Assistant Professor of Education
Matthew Witt, Professor of Public Administration

Ingrid Baartman
Heidy Contreras
Kathy Duncan, professor of management, speaks about her research on how collaborations can go wrong due to uneven workloads and lack of communication Tuesday at the faculty lecture in the Quay Davis Executive Board Room. / photo by Litsy Tellez
Kathy Duncan
Benjamin Jenkins
Assistant Professor of Psychology Nadine Nakamura is a recent recipient of the Rising Star Award from the National Multicultural Conference and Summit. The conference took place in January in Portland, Oregon, where she was awarded for her body of work in multicultural research. Nakamura is currently working on another research project involving LGBT immigrants. / photo by Kathleen Arellano
Nadine Nakamura
Andy Steck
Associate Professor of School Psychology Veronica Escoffrey-Runnels accepts her award at the Spirit of La Verne Awards ceremony Tuesday at the Ludwick Center. During her acceptance speech, Escoffery-Runnels thanked her family members for their unwavering support and her colleagues for their encouragement and collaboration. / photo by Ayalen Ortiz
Veronica Escoffery-Runnels

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