BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — “We have a lot of international students here at UB and we felt we needed to make some kind of gesture of support of those individuals,” said David Schmid, University at Buffalo Professor of English.
Schmid is one of several faculty members who’s in favor of making the University at Buffalo a ‘Sanctuary Campus.’
“The most vulnerable members of the University community would be protected from undue harassment by the authorities with regard to their immigration status,” said Schmid.
Schmid says officially becoming a ‘Sanctuary Campus’ means the University would commit to not cooperating with federal deportation raids. An online petition has already garnered more than 700 signatures, but the movement is not being met with open arms by everyone on campus.
“If we made a public statement of support for undocumented and international students and said that we were going to refuse to cooperate with federal law that could definitely be financial and legal consequences for the university,” said Schmid.
Brenna Zanghi is an undergraduate sophomore at UB who signed the petition. She’s afraid Donald Trump’s proposed plans to deport millions of undocumented immigrants could threaten diversity on campus.
“We’re all kind of holding our breath as we go to classes around the day because we’re scared of what might happen and I feel like it’s really important to know that the university has our backs,” said Zanghi.
The petition has not been presented to the President of UB ye but those spearheading the petition say they hope to do so before the semester is over.
News 4 learned that UB President Tripathi does not have the authority to declare a sanctuary, SUNY would make that call. However in a statement Tripathi said he signed a statement that protects the privacy rights of students.
This is a link to the online petition: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSd4afiJviebSn8IOh2bk_3OFXF0NalkywHU443CgDCyWzCE1g/viewform
President-elect Donald Trump has condemned “sanctuary” communities across the country. More than a dozen cities and counties in New York state are considered a haven for undocumented immigrants. They refuse to comply with federal immigration laws. They also do not actively deport undocumented immigrants based on their status alone. Albany, Ithaca and New York City are just some sanctuary communities in New York. Buffalo and Erie County are not.