In the week since the presidential election, many in our university have come together to engage in peaceful gatherings, public forums and other forms of community engagement within residence halls, departments and other groupings across campus. Participation in difficult discussions as well as celebrations of our shared humanity represent the best of who we are, the ideals of our democracy, and demonstrate how, by working together, we can continue to build a better future — the heart of our institutional mission.
There have also, however, been several reports of harassment, vandalism and violent incidents, in our state and even on our own campuses. We want to be clear: assault, discrimination, harassment or vandalism have no place on our campuses. These or any behaviors that violate our Code of Student Conduct or other policies will be referred to the UWPD and/or the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct or other relevant office for possible disciplinary action. We cannot allow harassing and offensive behavior to go unchecked. If you see something, please notify UWPD, the SafeCampus office, Division of Student Life, Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity or an official in your department.
We have also received many questions from students, faculty and staff who are concerned — and even fearful — about the immigration status of some of our community members, particularly those who are undocumented and those covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. The University’s policies and commitments are clear and have not changed. We are fully committed to providing a safe, secure and welcoming environment that protects the privacy and human rights of all members of our community.
The UWPD does not and will not detain, question or arrest individuals solely because they lack documentation. Nor do they or will they inquire about immigration status when they detain, question or otherwise interact with people. Seattle and King County officials have affirmed that local law enforcement will continue their policy barring officers from asking about immigration status. This is the essence of what is meant by “sanctuary,” and while it is too soon to speculate on any potential changes in national policy, we will carefully monitor this issue and remain steadfast in our support of students and their right to privacy.
We realize that this is a tumultuous and uncertain time for many. We are committed to the safety and security of all those in our community. This is not a political issue — it is a human rights issue. If you have concerns or questions, you can find resources, including an ally directory, at Leadership Without Borders or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have many people on campus with expertise on immigration law and human rights issues and are committed to working with officials at the state and national level to prevent or mitigate any potential future developments that would negatively impact our community members who are undocumented. We are also exploring how we might be able to provide further educational and legal resources to the community members who need them most, and our Faculty Senate offers resources to faculty seeking to foster an inclusive community for research, teaching and service.
As we said last week, our University is unwavering in its resolve to create an inclusive, diverse and welcoming community. We can and will work together to find the best in each other, to bridge our differences and to treat each other with the respect and kindness that all people deserve.