Temple University is one of many colleges nationwide that are making a call-to-action to protect undocumented immigrants on campus.
The Temple Senate approved a bill addressed to President Englert on Friday, in which the school’s faculty and students joined forces to petition for a sanctuary campus at Temple University.
One of the faculty members who presented the bill was Director of Communication Studies, Dr. Scott Gratson, who said the petition can be seen as an act of civil disobedience. “I think that creating a bill such as this, I mean a motion such as this, suggests to the university, suggests to the board of trustees, that we’re not going to stand for any government that suggests that our students are not welcome on this campus,” said Gratson.
A Pennsylvania lawmaker has proposed legislation to take away state funding from sanctuary campuses, but this has not stopped those in the Temple community who support standing in solidarity with undocumented immigrants.
“I think it also creates a statement that if they’re going to try to come for one of our students, they might as well try to come for all of us,” Gratson said.
Media Studies and Production professor Larisa Mann says she supports the petition because she believes the protection of undocumented immigrants will ultimately promote the enhancement of the Temple community as a whole.
“I think our community is enriched by its diversity and by students from all kinds of backgrounds and experiences,” said Professor Mann.
These diverse experiences that Professor Mann references can potentially hit home for first-generation students such as Nancy El-Haron, who have witnessed undocumented immigration firsthand within their families.
“My parents were immigrants coming into this country, and so if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here getting my education,” El-Haron said.
El-Haron says she is firmly against the deportation of illegal immigrants, stating that she believes they have made many sacrifices in order to live a prosperous life in the United States.
“You shouldn’t take that away, like they’re sacrificing just as much to be in this country to get their education,” said El-Haron.
Swarthmore College and the University of Pennsylvania have both recently declared to be sanctuary campuses in Philadelphia, and with the petition having over 1000 signatures to date, Temple may not be too far behind. Professor Mann says the continued success of the petition makes her hopeful for the future.
“I’m just grateful that people are so supportive of it. I think it bodes well for the next four years which are going to be very uncertain, so I’m excited to be a part of the Temple community and the broader discussions around these issues.”