Editorial: MSU should consider becoming a sanctuary campus, protect student immigrants
With recent executive orders by President Donald Trump on immigration from certain Muslim-majority countries and a series of somewhat vague campaign promises to secure the border, the future of many foreigners on American soil, here legally or not, has become something of a question.
Somewhere in the grand scheme of a complicated political issue lie universities, some of which do enroll undocumented students or, like MSU, pride themselves on enrolling a diverse international student body. Though MSU said it would not release immigration status of its students, more as a matter of policy rather than as a political statement, one important question needs to be raised: is MSU doing enough to protect its student immigrants?
Understandably, the power of one university in Michigan pales in comparison to the U.S. federal government, MSU needs to send a strong message that it is doing all it can, and at the moment MSU simply can't say that.
During a recent meeting between The State News Editorial Board and MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon, the idea of making MSU an official sanctuary campus was brought up, then dismissed by Simon.
Sanctuary campuses are any higher education institutions that follow policies that will protect undocumented immigrants. Simon made important points about why that decision might be imprudent and defended current policies. She also made a claim that sanctuary campuses could put a target on MSU's back.
“I think if you read the president’s response to (sanctuary campuses) and look at some of the raids that have been made nationally, there have been raids on sanctuary campuses," Simon said. "And the question is whether you would want to be on that list, if that’s to your advantage, or whether it ultimately puts your students at a disadvantage.”
While this needs to be considered in any discussion about the merits of a sanctuary campus, it seems to gloss over something very important. MSU has long valued a diverse international community on campus, and to come across as if the administration is merely doing the bare minimum to protect them hurts MSU's reputation.
Though The State News Editorial Board is not calling explicitly for MSU to become a sanctuary campus, the idea needs to at least be considered if MSU's insistence on diversity isn't just a public relations scheme. The administration shouldn't be worried it would put a target on MSU's back, since that is a necessary consequence of standing up for those who can't stand up for themselves.
The State News Editorial Board is made up of the Editor-in-chief Jake Allen, Managing Editor Cameron Macko, Campus Editor Rachel Fradette, City Editor Stephen Olschanski, Sports Editor Souichi Terada, Features Editor McKenna Ross, Copy Chief Casey Holland, Staff Representative Marie Weidmayer and Diversity Representative Madison O’Connor.