During Wednesday’s Vanderbilt Student Government Senate meeting, a resolution will be introduced to recommend that Vanderbilt designate itself a sanctuary campus. The meeting will be held in the Community Room of Central Library at 7 p.m. and is open to all students.
The document is being proposed by junior Hamzah Raza, a Highland Quad Senator, and has co-sponsorship from a dozen individual students and several executive boards. These students, most of them leaders of groups on campus, represent a range of organizations, including The Multicultural Leadership Council and The Vanderbilt Review.
The resolution lists four specific demands, which reflect the previous ones given to Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos during the Nov. 16 sit-in at Kirkland Hall. The following four are nearly identical to the list of a few weeks ago, besides cutting ties with “law enforcement agencies that collaborate with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)”, which was left off in this document.
Here are the demands listed below:
- Deny law enforcement agencies collaborating with the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) or Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) access to any Vanderbilt properties or information that may compromise a student’s ability to continue their education at Vanderbilt.
- Enforce campus policy prohibiting VUPD from inquiring about immigration status, enforcing immigration laws, or participating with ICE/CBP in actions.
- Refuse to cooperate with any ‘registration’ system that seeks to target or surveil Muslims.
- Publicly declare Vanderbilt a Sanctuary Campus.
Earlier this week, Chancellor Zeppos addressed the demands from the sit-in via email to the student body. In it, he responded to some of the concerns of students, including the releasing of student citizenship and immigration information. However, he noted that “We do not have the option of refusing to follow the law” and did not designate Vanderbilt as a sanctuary campus.
While the resolution will be discussed on Wednesday, there has already been expressed opposition to it. Alexander Spanopoulos, the president of Vanderbilt College Republicans, sent out an email to the group’s members, calling for them to show up and express their displeasure of the document.
“I encouraged my constituents to make their voices known at Senate,” Spanopoulos wrote in a statement to the Hustler. “Senate sessions are open to the general student body, and if a large number of level-headed students present opposition to this bill, perhaps those among our representatives who actually care about their constituencies will vote down this resolution.
“This resolution is inherently political, and the negative externalities to campus atmosphere, degree merit, and national reputation would affect every student,” he wrote.
The resolution notes how over 500 students signed the previous petition calling on Zeppos to designate Vanderbilt as a sanctuary campus, something that Spanopoulos finds fault with. He states that if it had 3,400 signatures “it would mean something,” referring to a number that would be half of the school’s approximately 6,800 students.
“Given that I, a political leader on campus, had not yet heard as much as a whisper of this prior to today, it certainly struck me as odd that this resolution could be “of the people” in any sense of the phrase,” Spanopoulos said.
Another sit-in is planned for Dec. 1, according to a Facebook event on the the Vanderbilt Students for a Sanctuary Campus page.
The Hustler reached out to Hamzah Raza about the resolution but did not receive a comment about it.
Read the full document here:16-17-11-resolution-recommending-vanderbilt-become-a-sanctuary-campus-1