Students, faculty, and staff push to declare Ripon College a sanctuary campus

By Mra Than

The petition to declare Ripon College a sanctuary campus can be accessed here

Through a collaborative effort, students, faculty, and staff of Ripon College are calling on the college administration to stand with other colleges and universities and declare Ripon College a sanctuary campus that will protect the safety, privacy, and wellbeing of all disenfranchised and minority students. A group of senior anthropology majors along with Professor Molly Margaretten, associate professor of anthropology, are key individuals who are a part of the inception of making Ripon College a sanctuary campus.

“While attending the American Anthropological Association conference with other senior anthropology majors along with Professor Margaretten, I learned about sanctuary campuses,” said Rebekha Crockett, a senior anthropology major. “We then began talking about it in class and one thing led to another.”

Sanctuary campus is a growing national movement that seeks to protect and promote the rights of students of all genders, races, religions, immigration statuses and abilities that are most at risk during the current political climate while still abiding by state and federal laws.

“One of the primary objectives of the movement is to guarantee that Ripon College will not identify undocumented students to federal agencies like ICE/CBP which are immigration control and border patrol,” said Margaretten.

The movement was also the result of many discussions that faculties had with anxious and concerned students during and after the elections expressing some of the fears students’ had given the unprecedented nature of President Trump’s administration. Students that were feeling uncertain in regards to their safety as persons of color or having different gender identities can have a collective community that will help with their fears of deportation or loss of opportunities under Trump’s administration with sanctuary campus.

“Being a sanctuary campus sends a strong message to all the students that we are a community and that we’re going to work together to protect each other,” said Crockett. “In a lot of ways, Ripon College has worked to promote this and this is just one more step in that direction.”

Planning for this initiative began last semester as campus wide meetings were held to discuss the creation of a petition for the college to stand in solidarity with the community’s most vulnerable students. A fluid group of individuals up to 40 students, faculty, and staff became involved in the process such as the multi-cultural coalition group.

“One thing I’m very proud of is that while this is student led with a lot of student involvement, we also have a lot of support from faculty and staff,” said Crockett. “It is really encouraging and important too because it shows that this initiative is being done as a college and not just as students or administration or faculty.”

The petition, which was released earlier this week to the campus community, received an endorsement from student senate that was overwhelmingly approved. Throughout this week and most of next week, students’ part of this initiative will be tabling in Pickard Commons to inform the campus community about sanctuary campus and collect signatures.

“I think this is very important because sanctuary campus is trying to bring people together and trying to define our identity as an institution by protecting everybody’s rights and standing up even if it doesn’t affect you directly,” said Crockett.