Wesleyan University a Sanctuary Campus

Across the country, many are calling for their universities to become sanctuary campuses. The model is the “sanctuary city,” like Austin, New York City, Chicago and dozens of other municipalities, which have declared their intention not to cooperate with federal officials seeking to deport residents simply because they lack appropriate immigration documentation.

Having spoken with students, faculty and staff over the last week, and having conferred with the Board of Trustees, I think it very important to declare that Wesleyan University is a sanctuary campus. For us, this means the following:

  • Wesleyan will remain committed to the principles of non-discrimination, including equal protection under the law, regardless of national origin or citizenship.
  • Wesleyan will not voluntarily assist in any efforts by the federal government to deport our students, faculty or staff solely because of their citizenship status.

As we say in our webpages, we will continue to “welcome all undergraduate applicants regardless of citizenship status.  Undocumented students, with or without Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), who apply to Wesleyan will continue to be treated identically to any other U.S. citizen or permanent resident in their high school.”

Through our alumni networks, we are also putting together legal resources for members of the Wesleyan community with questions concerning their immigration status. We will facilitate connections to these resources and other support services, as we work with appropriate offices and constituency groups on campus.

These are small steps, to be sure, in the face of a very frightening wave of threats to roll back the civil rights gains made in recent decades. But we will stand up and take these steps; we will do our best to protect our community, and we will gather resources to enable all its members, regardless of citizenship status, to continue to have opportunities to thrive here.

47 thoughts on “Wesleyan University a Sanctuary Campus”

  1. Thank you President Roth. I am truly grateful for such a bold step. I pray for Wesleyans success in the coming days.

    May Allah bless and protect us all,
    -Imam Sami Abdul Aziz
    Wesleyan Muslim Chaplain

  2. So Jan 21st expect ZERO funds from the federal govt in 2017-18. Keep your illegal aliens and pay for their tuition with your endowment because you will get no federal loans for your US students. Watch how quickly they will turn on you.

  3. Thank you so much! This is a small step, but it means a lot to know that Wesleyan remains the socially-committed institution it was when I studied there.

  4. Title IX will be significantly reevaluated to be based on fair legal principles, not the feelings of people who live in a bubble thinking they are above the law. It’s tragic that a University Professor is so biased despite allegedly having knowledge of history. As President Obama arrogantly said several years ago, “elections have consequences.”

  5. This is a fine statement. Many in my social circle are contemplating the next logical act after sanctuary, harboring a deportee.

  6. After reading Michael’s letter today, and having observed the horrors of the election from afar, I would like to say how proud I am to be part of the Wesleyan community. Wesleyan may be the only thing I am looking forward to, on my return from overseas.

    Peter Mark

  7. So proud of my alma mater for taking this stand. Wesleyan is unique in its commitment to honoring and respecting people from diverse backgrounds and in fostering ideas to steward a safe and inclusive future for everyone.

  8. Another ridiculous pander to the PC crowd that obviously still runs my alma mater, and I am second generation Wes. I gave for many many years and I like to be reminded now when the letters show up why I finally stopped giving. Just let the university be a place of learning and free inquiry, the political grandstanding is beyond embarrassing. Barf.

  9. The sanctuary model is one that all institutions of higher learning should embrace. I hope other colleges and universities follow suit.

  10. Wesleyan is the highest example of American values.
    Thank you for your leadership, Mr. President Roth.
    I am so thankful that my daughter Anne Marcotty is working at Wesleyan. Her education and background fit her eminently for that spiritual ambiance.
    Gratefully, Tania Marcotty

  11. Thank you, Wesleyan students, faculty and alumni, and President Roth and the Board of Trustees. DACA applicants and undocumented youth are looking for a better shot like so many immigrants before them (see Wes alum Miranda’s “Hamilton” for just 1 example!) More can be done to eliminate bias against other groups who have and will continue to face attacks on their rights, please continue this trend of standing up for what’s right with women’s health, Muslim, LGBT, and economically disadvantaged students to be able to access and have a safe Wesleyan education.

  12. Students at more than 100 schools have called on their institution to become a sanctuary campus, but Wesleyan is one of the only schools that’s taken swift and decisive action to implement such a policy. Thank you, President Roth, for your leadership on this issue, and for your commitment to equal protection under the law.

  13. This is a country of laws and Wesleyan University is breaking the law.

    How much money does Wesleyan University recieve from these “illegal students”. Follow the money and you will have your answer about Mr. Roth and his motives!

    If Wesleyan University can break Federal law whenever Wesleyan and Mr. Roth wishes then
    taxpayers can break Federal law and not pay their taxes or break other Federal laws whenever they, the taxpayer, want to as well.

    Be careful your opening a can of worms!

  14. Thank you Mr. Roth for showing who you are and what you believe as a Alt Left America without borders! Please reach out to your Alumni for funding as I hope that your organization receives no federal funding. If Wesleyan becomes self funded, you can become less diverse in your ideas and who you serve. We must alway support our American President whoever is in the office and yes, we do have borders. I am thankful that this election has brought the Alt Left out into the hiding and into the light!

  15. I am personally outraged that the president of any college or university would vow to protect illegal aliens from the laws of our country! That in and of itself seems criminal – aiding and abetting fugitives! How shameful and ridiculously politically correct! Is Roth going to spend his own personal money on these aliens? Because millions of Americans are sick and tired of being taxed to pay for illegal aliens!

  16. President Roth, when I saw your comments on Tucker Carlson tonight I could not believe my ears. For a former John Wesley founded University I can now understand why most folks call you secular. Hillary was a Methodist, maybe you should give her an honorary Dr degree in being the most experienced looser in America. Don’t you think its about time an achademic University stood for upholding the Law; at least just one. Your Methodist brother in Christ.

  17. It is such a disappointment to see a fine university become another pawn of the liberal left university ethos and take part in disrespect for law and order. This is not leadership, it is pedestrian politically correct pandering that does not respect truth, honor, and law. Any student or faculty who is affiliated with the university has multiple paths to remedy their citizenship issue, and it is intellectually dishonest to support them in their unwillingness to stand up and take responsibility for themselves and their families. Personal responsibility is the gold standard, and you are not fostering the character that is need for a honest citizenship and a healthy, strong society .

  18. Saw your interview on “Tucker Carlson Tonight”. You were made the fool because you and your ilk are phoney and can’t defend your contrived inconsistent positions. Shame on you!

  19. Lunacy and a corrupt violation of federal law! Our family is not investing $66,000 per year($100,000 before taxes) to currently send our son there so the school can pick and choose the laws it wants to obey. Roth wants to “provide equal protection under the law”- to those who have broken immigration law???!
    Maybe those who disagree with the School’s position should also decide to break the rules and stop paying tuition. See how long that lasts before the University removes non-abiding students.
    Our family will have some very difficult conversations over Christmas break.

  20. I just saw President Roth on TV trying to explain his views on this subject. From his stumbling answers to fair questions (admittedly from a hostile interviewer, but what did he expect when he accepted?), to his flaky, carefully put on appearance (not a PC comment, I know), he was an embarrassment to this Wesleyan grad and I’m sure to many others. It is obvious from many examples that he is furthering far left views as a University president, while extolling diversity…….as long as it matches his view of the world. If he believed in real diversity, he would keep his political views separate from his job as a university president and maybe even see that the faculty had some ideological diversity. Vic Butterfield must be as ashamed as I am. Where is the board?

  21. Absolutely ridiculous! Universities are not open to interpret the laws of the land! My taxes should not be used to support schools that that pander to illegal aliens!!!

  22. Dear President Roth:
    Thanks for spending my hard earned tax money to glorify yourself by handing my money to people who stole into this country and continue to suck up our resources. in fact, you suck uk tax dollars yourself. Thanks a lot

  23. “…very frightening wave of threats to roll back the civil rights gains made in recent decades.” What an irresponsible assertion. Casuistry

  24. You’ve got to be kidding me!
    Are you this desperate? These students are illegal residents. The resident student should take priority over non resident illegals! They aren’t tax paying residents. It costs thousands of dollars to get a degree plus colleges can provide lousy service! only a school that would have a large number of illegal students would sanction them!
    Maybe you can provide them tax payer student aid as well.

    I asked el bischoff about OSU gordon gees significant other *ahem* Monterey California *ahem* Miis *ahem* and all the lights in the restauraunt went out.

  25. The primary word here is “ILLEGAL”, ie, against the law. Anyone or anyplace that chooses to break the law and engage in illegal actions should expect consequences. Public funds from any governmental source should not be expended for any illegal activity by anyone for any reason.

  26. Maybe President Roth can define for us the notion of “sanctuary campus”. If he intends to thwart law enforcement then I think he sends a very poor message to students. This is Nation of laws. The law is not therefore optional – despite Mr. Obama’s history of non-enforcement of immigration laws.

  27. I saw Dr. Roth interviewed by Tucker Carlson yesterday . At first I thought the man’s position was was a joke- a tongue-in-cheek spot to break up the monotony of cable news. Then I realized that the man was being serious. What part of “Against The Law” does Dr. Roth not understand? Congress makes immigration law. Dr. Roth is not Congress. There is LEGAL immigration, and there is ILLEGAL immigration. The word ILLEGAL means against the law. I guess obedience to the law in Middletown , CT is on a cafeteria basis. You have to obey some, and you don’t have to obey others. Can I move to Middletown and obtain sanctuary for not paying my income tax, FICA, FUTA and SUI?

  28. The brainwashed touchy feely comments above do not appreciate the unintended consequences of a state, county, city, campus, etc. ignoring the enforcement of federal laws. What if Texas decides it doesn’t want to enforce the so-called Brady Bill, which requires comprehensive background checks on individuals seeking to buy guns? You can’t pick and choose which laws you wish to enforce, you can change the laws but not with an unconstitutional executive order as Obama tried with DACA. Read the following before you let your “feelings” dictate your opinions.http://www.fairus.org/DocServer/state_local/IssueBrief_Cooperation_and_Anti-SanctuaryPolicy.pdf

  29. Question: the President mentioned ‘under the law,’ a phrase echoed by several commenters here.
    How can one be ‘under the law’ when actively flouting the law?

  30. No person or institution is above the law, including Wesleyan University. The misdirected arrogance of this “sanctuary campus” policy is disappointing. President Roth, actions do have consequences. If the University fails to comply with the law and refuses to assist those who rightfully enforce the law, then it should expect to receive the full consequences of breaking the law. It is my hope that you will reconsider your decision to encourage lawlessness.

  31. Thank you, President Roth! To all who are concerned about this being a “nation of laws,” yes, but what do you do when a law is stupid, immoral, and apparently designed to promote exploitation? This country runs on the labor of undocumented immigrants. If they all walked off the job for three days, you’d have trouble getting lettuce in your local market. We want their labor and we should pay them decently, withhold taxes and provide the benefits that go with working in this country. So let’s give them documents, for heaven’s sake.

  32. Thank you, President Roth, for your leadership on this issue. As a Wesleyan alum and parent of a current student, I am both proud and pleased that Wesleyan has declared itself a sanctuary campus and remains firmly committed to the principles of non-discrimination, including equal protection under the law, regardless of national origin or citizenship. Your courageous, compassionate and swift action is inspiring. May other institutions look to you and our strong, healthy community as they, too, take decisions to protect their students and community members.

  33. Rev. Amy above, you change the law through the appropriate legislative constitutional process.
    If you violate existing laws, you suffer the consequences irrespective of how you “feel.” You clearly didn’t study history at Wesleyan. The ends do not justify the means. And, not everyone feels the way you do, and if they do, our system permits an appropriate legal response. Civilizations that endure are not based on one’s feelings, which is why we have laws. If I were you, I would ask for a refund of the tuition your parent’s probably paid.

  34. Thank you, President Roth! Donating now to show my pride in my alma mater. Those complaining should read more carefully; neither Wesleyan nor any other sanctuary campus has said they will flout the law; they will simply not use their own resources to assist in deportation unless legally compelled to.

  35. Bethany, what part of the word “undocumented” do you not understand? Until the PC crowd and the left in search of a new voting bloc pandering to Hispanics, someone who is undocumented is in this country “illegally.” Like the sanctuary cities, Wesleyan is accommodating people who have violated immigration law (e.g. 18 USC 1325) and sending signals to people in other countries that it is ok to come into this country “illegally.” Why don’t you have some compassion for those people from other countries who come into the US “legally.” To come into this country illegally sends the wrong signal to people who want to become US citizens, not to mention the significant costs incurred by citizens who are here legally and have to pay for the fruits of the poisonous tree. Yes, we are a nation of legal immigrants and you’ll find more recent naturalized or new citizens have left countries that pick and choose what laws to enforce. It’s hardly a secret that Democrats want illegals to come into the US to vote the low info way (which they can easily do once they obtain a false social security card) and many big industrial and technology companies want cheaper labor. Either way, laws and the enforcement of those laws matters in a civilized world.

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