OUR VIEW: UA should become a sanctuary campusBy CW Editorial Board | 02/02/2017 12:06am
CW / Kylie Cowden
This week, along with thousands of protesters at airports around the nation, students and faculty at the University met to march on the Quad in opposition to President Trump’s executive order regarding immigration. The order temporarily bans refugees from all countries from entering the United States, as well as citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries for a 120-day period. This Editorial Board stands with the protesters and with our fellow students who are residents of the seven countries affected by the ban in calling for The University of Alabama to become a sanctuary campus.
President Bell’s statement this week partially read that “[our] state and our nation have benefited immensely from the global intellect and engagement offered through our institutions of higher education. Our international faculty, students and researchers provide quantifiable value to all of us through their respective fields, impacting our lives in countless ways – from health care and technology invention, to culture and the arts, and to our economy.” It went on to reaffirm that our international students and faculty are welcome here. We applaud these words, and hope they will be followed with actions if need be. It could be extraordinarily difficult for impacted students to focus on healthcare and technology invention while knowing that their families will be unable to attend their graduation ceremonies. Few cultural and artistic achievements may be made by those who have to choose between returning home for the summer and finishing their education. But a student’s humanity – their right to feel safe in the home we supposedly welcomed them to – should not depend on their output.
Auburn University’s statement on the same order included a recommendation that students from the affected countries not travel outside of the United States, a step this University should emulate. However, we are unconvinced, based on the president’s rhetoric during his campaign, that this is the last step the Trump administration will take to curtail immigrant rights. If at any point any student at this University becomes subject to deportation, whether it be for repeal of DACA or another executive order, it is a moral imperative that this University follows the lead of the city of Birmingham and refuses to provide any information on that student to any authorities.
Context for this request, as we begin Black History Month, must begin with our University’s own shameful part in it. In 1963, then-Gov. George Wallace defied federal law by standing in the doorway of Foster Auditorium and preventing the admission of two African-American students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, to our university. His actions were undoubtedly reprehensible, but not for their illegality. Malone and Hood, like Autherine Lucy before them, stood in defiance of state law in seeking to enroll as students here. John Lewis defied the law while attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., while jailed for protesting in Birmingham, wrote, “An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself.”
This University, unless we would make fear of deportation binding on ourselves, must proactively resist all unjust laws that may impact our academic community. We cannot say we value our students and be unprepared to defend them.
Our View is the consensus of The Crimson White Editorial Board.