News Ticker

Letter to the Editor: A Rose by Any Other Name

Cowritten by SHADES members

In last Tuesday’s edition of the Arbiter, Opinion Editor Sierra Williams wrote an article calling attention to a petition being circulated by Students Honoring Active Demarginalization Efforts (SHADES). This petition is asking President Kustra to declare Boise State a sanctuary campus in light of recent events and the current political climate. In the time since Williams’ piece was written, certain requested items have been refined in order to nullify opposition from administration.

Concern had been raised regarding the financial ramifications of demanding the appointment of a new staff position. SHADES would like it to be known that we have since removed the request for Boise State to designate a Vice President for Student Diversity and Inclusion as we do not want the monetary limitations associated with that role to hinder the remainder of our requests. In fact, we are hopeful that the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion, which will be rolling out this semester, will mitigate many of the issues with which we are concerned.

The petition’s remaining requests are all well within Boise State’s administrative power. After meeting with the ASBSU President and Vice President we have added two additional provisions at their recommendation and are scheduled to meet with the Student Assembly on Wednesday, Jan. 25. We hope to gain their support in the passing of a resolution. The main concern that has been brought to our attention is the potential financial ramifications that the term “Sanctuary Campus” could create at Boise State because it is a public institution. Our primary objective is not what we call this movement, so long as our requests are taken seriously and enacted. The updated requests are as follows:

1.)Prohibit school funds or resources from furthering federal immigration laws.

2.)Protect student privacy by communicating to Boise State campus security and administrators that inquiries about a student’s citizenship status are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and are denied.

3.)Communicate to Boise State campus police that universities are designated as Sensitive Locations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and enforcement actions—(arrests, interviews and searches for the purposes of immigration enforcement or surveillance)— “should generally be avoided, and require either prior approval from an appropriate supervisory official or exigent circumstances necessitating immediate action” according to ICE’s policy for Sensitive Locations.

4.)Offer a public statement and pledge that the university will exercise its rights under FERPA and its designation as a Sensitive Location to protect the privacy and safety of all students, especially undocumented students.

5.)Dedicate part of Boise State’s website to a description of resources for undocumented/DACAmented students.

6.)Assure that all students receive a campus, classroom and community experience free from hostilities, aggressions and bullying by promoting campus dialogues.

7.)Communicate unequivocally and repeatedly that undocumented/DACAmented students are full members of the Boise State community who will be protected to the fullest power of the administration.

8.)ASBSU president will join other student leaders in signing “Student Leaders’ Letter to President Trump” which urges the president-elect to uphold DACA and H-1B visas.

9.)ASBSU will work with student leaders to develop and sponsor an educational program that highlights the need for safety on campus.

Williams’ article also mentioned that our petition places the burden of action on the university. She highlights plausible barriers to students and faculty if they are not on board with the line of discourse. Given that Boise State is an institute of higher learning, we feel it is necessary to encourage students to engage in a wide array of topics, social justice being one of them. To fully and successfully operate in a diverse and multicultural society, students need to be educated on the issues their future co-workers, clients, bosses and constituents face. While students and even faculty may initially resist new initiatives on campus that promote a critical understanding of the weight that marginalized identities play in one’s daily interactions and life trajectory, the university is still responsible for producing students who are educated and equipped to contribute to an ever changing society. We would not entertain animosity directed at required history, mathematics and literature courses; therefore, we should not in this regard. Failing to educate students on these issues is a disservice to them and the communities they will be serving.