Office of the President: Message in Response to Petition
Posted: December 11, 2016
Dear Scripps College Students, Faculty, and Staff,
I recently received a petition signed by more than 750 Scripps College students, faculty, staff, alumnae, and friends and family members requesting the addition of immigration status to the College’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy, and recommending that the College declare itself a “sanctuary center of higher education.” The petition serves as a powerful expression of the Scripps community’s shared devotion to the well-being of our classmates, colleagues, and friends, and to the ideals of a fair and just society.
The College has approved the petition’s request to include immigration status in our Discrimination and Harassment policy, and the Title IX office is currently incorporating those revisions. During the December Board meeting, the Board of Trustees engaged in lengthy, thoughtful discussions about the impact and importance of declaring Scripps a sanctuary center of higher education. The trustees believe this designation affirms the College’s commitment to uphold our educational mission and institutional values of diversity, inclusion, equity, and access. The Board of Trustees and I are eager to reinforce these values, and thus we designate ourselves a sanctuary campus.
Although the term “sanctuary center of higher education” is not universally defined, we do indeed see ourselves as a sanctuary for our students, faculty, and staff. Remarks by the President-elect and his advisors have ignited fear and anxiety for many marginalized groups, among them, immigrants and Muslims. By declaring ourselves a sanctuary campus, we pledge to seek opportunities to protect all members of our community within the confines of the law, especially those who are most vulnerable, from persecution and violation of their human and civil rights.
As a sanctuary center of higher education, Scripps College commits to the following:
- The College will protect the privacy of its students, faculty, and staff, and will not release information about individuals’ immigration status, religion, or other affiliations unless legally required to do so.
- The College will report the receipt of federal agency subpoenas for private records to affected students or employees unless specifically prohibited by applicable law.
These commitments build on actions the College has already taken to ensure students’ ongoing access to a Scripps education, including designated financial support for DACAmented and undocumented students, provision of an emergency fund for immigration- and civil rights-related legal services, and sponsorship of consulting programs to help students better understand their civil rights under current law.
We must remain vigilant and engaged in the coming months, as there is still significant uncertainty about how federal policies may change and how those changes would impact the College and members of our community. As we monitor the evolving policy environment, I will continue to stand with fellow college presidents nationwide in advocating for policies that ensure fair and equitable access to higher education opportunities for highly qualified students from diverse backgrounds. I also will continue to collaborate with the Presidents’ Council to enhance resources and support to advance inclusive excellence at Scripps and across The Claremont Colleges.
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