Sanctuary Campus Working Group Meets With Hamilton
April 5, 2017
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NYU Sanctuary met with President Andrew Hamilton today to discuss policy proposals the university can make to accommodate students affected by President Donald Trump’s new immigration policies.
Student members of NYU Sanctuary along with NYU Law Professor Alina Das, who runs the Immigrant Rights Clinic, met with Hamilton and Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Programs Josh Taylor to discuss the group’s demands. NYU Sanctuary said it will meet again with Hamilton’s staff before the end of the month.
NYU Sanctuary asked for a meeting between its representatives and Hamilton after its March 1 rally. The students of the sanctuary campus working group published a list of demands yesterday that includes providing affected students with resources such as housing, protecting student information and privacy and publicly declaring a sanctuary campus.
The group’s broader demands include guaranteeing access to legal services and housing and protection of community members’ information from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, according to the letter.
During the meeting, which was supposed to be 30 minutes but lasted an hour and a half, NYU Sanctuary held a small rally at the Kimmel Center for University Life. A student read the policy demands and NYU Sanctuary members updated rally goers on the meeting. Ralliers also chanted, “Can you hear us Andy? We demand a sanctuary” and “What do we want? Sanctuary. When do we want it? Now.”
NYU Sanctuary member and CAS sophomore Nour Obeidallah attended the meeting and said that the most promising part of the session was the fact that Hamilton’s staff committed to meeting with NYU Sanctuary again before the end of the month.
“We’re all basically on the same page of protecting students, but we’re going at it at a different level of commitment, I suppose,” Obeidallah said. “I don’t think they’re malicious — I know they have the students’ best interests at heart, but we have to make sure it’s up to a level that is acceptable, a level that is actually going to create positive change.”
The sanctuary campus working group said that it believes a meeting with Hamilton was important, because it forced administration to directly address its concerns about enacting policies to protect students, faculty and staff threatened by Trump’s policies.
“During March 1’s ‘Tea With Andy,’ the administration used a town hall to appear responsive to campus constituents, while in fact evading substantive responses to student concerns,” the group said in a statement to WSN. “From past experience, we know that town halls lead to task forces — which provide the administration an excuse to extend the timeline of inaction.”
The group also said it hopes that Hamilton and the upper administration will take its demands into consideration and make a concrete commitment to declare NYU a sanctuary campus.
University Spokesperson John Beckman said that NYU shares the same concern for its immigrant and undocumented students that the sanctuary campus working group does, and that the university has shown this by demonstrating opposition to the executive order, taking measures to protect its students, faculty and staff from oppressive policies and reiterating a belief in the free movement of people pursuing an education or research. He said that the meeting with the sanctuary group was productive.
“They [NYU Sanctuary members] had the opportunity to go through all their points, and it was clear that there was agreement on many of the issues,” Beckman said. “Both sides agreed to keep the dialogue going, and we look forward to future discussions and meetings with the students.”
Additional reporting by Jemima McEvoy. Email Sayer Devlin and Natasha Roy at [email protected]