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Voices from the #SanctuaryCampus Walkout

On Wednesday, November 16th, hundreds of Middlebury students and professors gathered outside of Mead Chapel to stand in solidarity with undocumented members of the college community and the country at large in response to President-elect Trump’s anti-immigrant policy proposals. The walkout occurred as part of a national action to call on the Middlebury administration to declare the college a “sanctuary campus,” thereby protecting undocumented students from intimidation, unfair investigation, and deportation proceedings. A full list of the protestors’ demands can be found below, and their petition can be signed online here.

Click below for abridged speeches from the protest.

** Voices: Austin Khan ‘17.5, Jessica Gutierrez ’17, Marcelo Lopez ’19, Assistant Professor of Political Science Kemi Fuentes George, Mellon C3 Postdoctoral Fellow in Spanish Sony Coráñez Bolton.

Demands as stated by student organizers at the walkout:

“As students at this college, we urge you to affirmatively stand with immigrants who study, live, and work at this college by adopting a public, written policy communicating the following protections according to our vision of a sanctuary campus:

  1. Ensure that student privacy and confidentiality remains guaranteed. Take immediate action so that DACAmented students and undocumented students can be assured of institutional support towards continuing their academic endeavors and their path to educational success.
  2. The college refuses all voluntary information sharing with ICE and CPB across all aspects of the college to the fullest extent possible under the law
  3. The college refuses immigration and customs enforcement physical access to all land owned or controlled by the college.
  4. The college prohibits campus security from inquiring about or recording a student’s individual immigration status or enforcing immigration laws or participating with ICE or CPB in actions.
  5. The college commits to ongoing dialogue with the students about additions to the college policy and support for community efforts that protect immigrants who study, live, and work at the college and their families in that community.

These terms shall be enforced by all college staff and all contractors and subcontractors and their employees working on property owned or controlled by the college. If we stay silent, then our stated commitments to diversity, justice, and inclusion will become empty promises and hypocritical lies. This is not a time for silence.”

The college provost, Susan Baldridge, also spoke at the walkout on behalf of the senior leadership group of the administration following the crowd’s vocalization of the above demands. Part of the Baldridge’s speech is transcribed below.

“We’ve been in conversation all this week about these concerns not only because you’ve raised them with us but also because we’ve been aware. We share your concerns about supporting every student on our campus and we want you to know we’re going to be working to take the recommendations and demands on your list, think through them, and work to identify what we can do to best support every member of our community. We are glad you’re here. Mostly we’re here in solidarity with you. We’re grateful to you for using your voices and grateful to you for sharing your stories. Thank you.

The immigrant solidarity group will be holding an action planning session THIS SATURDAY (NOV. 19TH) AT 1-2PM IN AXINN 229 to debrief the protest and discuss next steps for the sanctuary campus movement. Leaders also hope to provide additional information regarding how Trump’s immigration proposals will affect students at Middlebury.

* photo by Kyra Gray ’17
** Audio recording by David Fuchs ’17. Edited by Lizzy Weiss ’17.

If any protestors have concerns about confidentiality or the representation of their words through editing, please notify the middbeat editorial staff at [email protected]

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