Students, faculty, staff and alumni at Pasadena’s Fuller Theological Seminary are circulating a petition this week which urges the school’s president, provost and dean of students to declare the seminary a sanctuary for undocumented foreign students and workers.
“Sanctuary campus” is a term that reflects a school’s willingness to protect students, staff, workers or faculty who are undocumented immigrants and to protect their information from federal immigration officials.
As of Wednesday evening, over 700 students, faculty, and alumni had signed the petition that was sent on Monday.
“We the undersigned students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Fuller Theological Seminary write in response to Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States to express our commitment to the safety and dignity of all students and workers in our seminary community,” the petitioners said. “We request that Fuller begins the necessary process to declare every campus a sanctuary for undocumented students and workers.”
Signing themselves under “In Christ”, the petitioners said they are “dismayed and disoriented” by the result of the election, and are “fearful of the hatred that has spread across the country such as xenophobic chants directed at Latina/o youth, bullying of Muslim and LGBT individuals, incendiary graffiti and vandalism.”
“As you know, our own Pasadena campus and its students of color have not been exempt from the hostility that this election season has provoked,” the petitioners said.
The petition also mentioned Trump’s pre-election pledge to deport undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States and repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which provides relief from deportation and work benefits to hundreds of thousands of young people in the U.S., including Fuller students and staff.
“If these policies are enacted they will prove devastating, subjecting students and workers who are integral to our community to punitive measures, and in contrast to Fuller’s stated commitment to work for the good of human society,” the petitioners warned.
The petition listed a number of specific steps the seminary should be taking, including an “unequivocal, public declaration of Fuller’s support for and protection of undocumented students, staff, and their families on our campus.”
It said Fuller should also guarantee privacy by refusing to release information regarding the immigration status of students and staff, and publicly reaffirm the admission and financial aid policies toward undocumented students.
The petitioners also asked the seminary to educate members of the Fuller community, including faculty, staff, and students, on the potential implications of immigration policies on our community.
Should Fuller establish itself as a sanctuary campus, it will join schools like Wesleyan University in Connecticut and Reed College in Oregon that have already designated themselves as sanctuary campuses.