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CSULB refrains from calling itself a sanctuary campus

President Conoley says the campus will operate like a ‘sanctuary,’ but will not be called one to avoid losing federal funds.

Elizabeth Campos, Assistant News Editor

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Cal State Long Beach President Jane Close Conoley said in an Academic Senate meeting Thursday that the CSULB campus would function as a sanctuary for undocumented students, but would not be formally called one.

The question of whether CSULB will become a protected space is one that has been discussed amid the rising tension due to the current political environment.

Conoley said that upon speaking to the chancellor’s office, the school was told to operate as a sanctuary campus, but to not use the word “sanctuary” itself because it has different meanings, but no legal definition.

“We are under the same rules as many California cities that actually are called ‘sanctuary cities’ and we do enforce exactly those rules that say we do not collaborate with federal immigration,” Conoley said. “That means that if you get stopped for a traffic violation and you are undocumented – well, you might get a ticket for a traffic violation, but no report would be made to federal immigration.”

Conoley also said that steps are being taken on campus to help students become aware of already standing Order 55. It states that campus police “shall not stop or detain persons for determining immigration status or arrest persons solely for alleged undocumented entry into the United States,” according to a press release from CSULB’s office of media and government relations.

President Conoley said that that 51 percent of CSULB students get federal Pell grants, but that’s at stake if the school decides to use the word “sanctuary.”

Legally, CSULB cannot refrain Immigration and Customs Enforcement from stopping and talking to anyone, but campus authorities assured that they will function as best they can as a safe place for undocumented students.

“I think the main point is that we all – students, staff, faculty, administrators – have the same common interest: to promote our students’ best interests,” Norbert Schürer, Academic Senate chair, said.

In addition, Schürer said that calling the campus a “sanctuary” can be counterproductive.

“Some undocumented individuals were hesitant to take on [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals] status because that would make their contact information easily accessible, and indeed we do not want any policies on campus that would endanger our students,” Schürer said.  

 

Nadia Villanueva contributed to this article.

 

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