A Sanctuary for All Students sign now

We respectfully ask that the Arizona Board of Regents take immediate action to condemn recent legislation (SB 1070, SB 1097, HB 2382, HB 2281), to declare Arizona universities sanctuaries, to uphold the policies in its Policy Manual, and to take action to build trust between university and minority communities.

We, as faculty and graduate students of Arizona State University (ASU), Northern Arizona University (NAU), and University of Arizona (UA), are writing to support ASU President Michael M. Crows statements in his letter dated April 23, 2010 to Governor Jan Brewer in which he acknowledged that SB 1070 threatens significant social disruption in the lives of all members of our community. Crow states, "In my own view the law as written will also make Arizona seemingly and actually unfriendly to legal residents, potential residents, and international visitors. This projection of a hostile environment will seriously and negatively affect the states potential for economic development, its current economic activity, and the existing civil environment."

As faculty and graduate students, we are committed to preventing Arizonas universities from becoming hostile environments. In many ways, universities, like churches, operate as sanctuaries, as places where people seek truth, bridge divisions, and engage in dialogue and critical reflection. Faculty and students from other universities have both publicly denounced SB 1070 and organized to make their campuses sanctuaries. For example, U.C. Berkeley students in a recent letter demanded Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau make the Berkeley campus a sanctuary and provide extensive protection to undocumented students (Make Chancellor Birgeneau Stand Up Against SB 1070!). If we wish to uphold the principles on which universities are founded, then we are also obligated to make our universities sanctuaries.

Furthermore, by asking the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) to designate the universities as sanctuaries, we are seeking to enact Northern Arizona Universitys faculty resolution passed on May 3, 2010. The resolution condemns SB 1070 as a bill that will marginalize, criminalize, and profile a segment of our community in the name of controlling our borders (Davis). If we as faculty and graduate students, and the university at large, do not take an immediate stand against this bill, we will be complicit not only in targeting reasonably suspicious people and communities but also in creating a system of second-class citizenship.

We respectfully ask ABOR to institute a policy of non-compliance with SB 1070, which includes the following:

1. To designate the ASU, NAU, and UA campuses and all their branches as sanctuaries where police officers will not be enforcing SB 1070.

2. To communicate this policy with an appropriate memorandum of understanding with police departments and SRO officers on each campus.

3. Beyond legally defining and publicly declaring ASU, NAU and UA campuses and all their branches as sanctuaries, we urge ABOR to foster safe spaces on these campuses, where no individual is asked to police another individual, where the psychological impacts of these bills are addressed and mitigated, and where integrity of dialogue and a respect for diversity are actively supported and maintained.

In regards to upcoming legislation which has been passed through to the House and is waiting for Governor Brewers signature (HB 2382, SB 1097, HB 2281), we urge the Board of Regents to pressure Governor Brewer not to sign these bills due to the disastrous consequences for both higher and lower education.
In a May 4th 2010 letter to Governor Jan Brewer, the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) makes clear that there is a historical precedent for the unconstitutionality and discriminatory nature of these bills (SB 1097, HB 2382, HB 2281) that require data collection, annual reports, and withholding of state aid for undocumented students. Based on Doe v. Plyler, 457 U.S. 202 (1982), the Supreme Court of the United States struck down a state statute denying funding for education to children who were illegal immigrants. Doe v. Plyer simultaneously struck down a municipal school district's attempt to charge each undocumented student with an annual $1,000 tuition fee to compensate for the lost state funding. We urge ABOR not only to publicly recognize the unconstitutional nature of SB 1097, HB 2382, and HB 2281 but also to help oppose implementation of said laws at all levels of the Arizona educational system.

While seemingly restricted to the K-12 school districts, these bills (HB 2382, SB 1097, HB 2281) will have serious repercussions for higher education. If these bills do not directly require university instructors to monitor, inform on, and compile data on students, as they will require of K-12 instructors, they do directly create an atmosphere of distrust between teachers and students throughout the entire educational system. Moreover, an April 29, 2010 report in the Racism Review warns us that additional legislation (HB 2382, HB 2281) represents a step towards eliminating funding for ethnic studies at the university level: Truth-telling about our white-racist history, and resistance to it by Americans of color, that gives people honest understandings (and/or group pride) will actually be illegal (Arizona Legislators Take On Ethnic Studies). These education bills not only strengthen legislation that discriminates against and seeks to relocate immigrant communities, but also erase histories, which further propagates a culture of fear and hate. In addition, students graduating from Arizona public schools will be ill-prepared to enter academic and public discourse. These bills will precipitate historical amnesia, which in turn will pose an overwhelming challenge in our university classrooms and society at large.

We respectfully demand ABOR takes the following actions in response to the bills, SB 1097, HB 2382, and HB 2281, which entails the following:

1. To join the undersigned faculty in advocating for and supporting K-12 educators refusal to collect data (HB 2382, SB 1097) on possibly undocumented students and also K-12 educators refusal to remove ethnic studies from their curricula (HB 2281). Arizona Board of Regents Policy Manual, specifically policy regulation 5-204 states, ABOR is committed to the goal of increasing enrollment levels and graduation rates for minority and women students in its universities. In addition, according to University Regulation 5-204-1, Early Outreach to Other Educational Systems and Ethnic Minority Communities, each University should maintain a presence within minority communities to build trust and credibility between minority and university communities and to enhance understanding of the challenges that confront minorities who seek a higher education. To uphold these policies it is clear ABOR should take a strong stand of non-compliance with SB 1070, SB 1097, HB 2382, and HB 2281.

2. As stated in University Regulation 5-204-1, ABOR should encourage universities to maintain a presence within minority communities to build trust and credibility. In order to build trust in minority communities, it is important to encourage curriculum that recognizes the experiences of minority groups as well as builds tolerance, acceptance, and respect for diversity. Such trust building must entail decrying HB 2281 and striving to maintain ethnic studies in K-12. ABOR should also take the following actions: EITHER encourage K-12 educators to implement Human Rights curriculum designed to educate students on the principles of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (1948) and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) OR offer university outreach programs that fulfill a similar need.

We urge ABOR to take these necessary actions in the spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, and to join with people around the world in boycotting, petitioning against, and decrying these unjust bills. Thus, we will maintain the integrity of universities as a pillar of a just and free society.


Further Reading:

Arizona Board of Regents. Early Outreach to Other Educational Systems and Ethnic
Minority Communities. Policy Manual. Chapter V: Campus and
Student Affairs, Policy 5-204-1, n.p. May 9, 2010.

---. Recruitment of Women and Minority Students. Policy Manual. Chapter V:
Campus and Student Affairs, Policy 5-204, n.p. May 9, 2010.

Arizona Legislators Take on Ethnic Studiesas Subversive. RacismReview.com.
April 29, 2010. http://www.racismreview.com/blog/2010/04/29/arizona-legislators-take-on-ethnic-studies-as-subversive/

Crow, Michael. Letter to Governor Jan Brewer. Statepress.com. April 23, 2010.

Davis, Hilary. NAU Profs Blast Law. AZDailySun.com, n.p. May 4, 2010.

Make Chancellor Birgeneau Stand Up Against SB 1070! Online Letter and Petition.
May 3, 2010.

National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies. Letter to Governor Brewer. May
4, 2010. https://www.naccs.org/images/naccs/ltrs/SB_1070.pdf

State of Arizona. House of Representatives. House Bill 2281: prohibited courses; discipline; schools.
49th Legis., 2nd sess.
Current copy of Bill:

---. House Bill 2382: schools; student data collection. 49th Legis., 2nd sess.
Current copy of Bill:

State of Arizona. Senate. Senate Bill 1070: safe neighborhoods; immigration; law enforcement. Ch.
113, 49th Legis., 2nd sess.
Current copy of Bill:

---. Senate Bill 1097: schools; data; noncitizen students. 49th Legis., 2nd sess.
Current copy of Bill:


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