Senate Resolution on Diversity and Sanctuary, December, 2017
WHEREAS the recent national political campaign has exacerbated social tensions and created an atmosphere in which hate speech and other types of aggression have started to escalate, the NAU community wishes to reaffirm our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and freedom from discrimination and harassment. According to NAU’s Safe Working and Learning Environment Policy (Personnel Policy Manual, Policy No. 5.16), revised February 2016, NAU protects “the safety of all individuals at university sites and activities. This policy covers students, staff, faculty, administrators.” ABOR Policy 1-119 on Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment supports an environment free from harassment, discrimination, and retaliation based on “race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and genetic information.” Likewise, NAU’s various commissions reiterate the university’s commitment to promoting an inclusive and welcoming environment for all members of the campus community. [i] Given that the promotion of student learning and success, as well as diversity, civic engagement, and community building, are dominant goals in the forthcoming NAU Strategic Plan, the NAU Faculty Senate hereby resolves to:
- Recognize that safety, and freedom from harassment, are integral to creating and maintaining a space that fully promotes intellectual inquiry at NAU
- Reaffirm our commitment to inclusion and access for ALL NAU students, faculty, and staff, regardless of their immigration status, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, ability, or orientations.
- Support the creation of an Undocumented Student Resource Center and provide students with accurate information regarding their legal, civil, and financial rights
- Implement a forum for ongoing feedback from students, faculty, and staff about campus climate issues
- Protect all students, including undocumented students and students with DACA by declaring NAU a sanctuary for higher education. A Sanctuary for Higher Education is a university, college, or community college that provides undocumented and DACAmented students the opportunity to study and learn in an environment free from discrimination, harassment, and fear of deportation. Sanctuary can be ensured by[ii]:
- Limiting the ability of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to come on to our campus without exigent circumstance;[iii]
- Guaranteeing that any documents identifying student immigration status remain private and secure
NAU President Cheng reminds us that members of the NAU community engage one another with “civility, respect, and empathy,” and that furthermore, we are an institution that “welcomes a diversity of opinions” as a “fundamental aspect of the learning experience.” The NAU Faculty Senate affirms these values and hereby resolves to protect them.
[i] NAU’s Commission on Ethnic Diversity strives to contribute to the development of a welcoming and supportive environment for faculty, staff, and students of color at NAU. The NAU Commission on the Status of Women promotes and advocates gender equity, parity, and inclusivity, and fosters a diverse, safe, and welcoming campus environment, and helps to create a family-friendly community. The LGBTQIA Commission promotes acceptance of LGBTQIA (Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender-Queer-Intersex-Ally) diversity, and fosters respect and appreciation for each member of the NAU community, including Extended Campuses students, faculty, and staff. The Commission on Disability Access and Design envisions a university community free from physical and attitudinal barriers to services, programs, and activities through Universal Design.
[ii] According to María Blanco, executive director of the University of California Undocumented Legal Services Center, these symbolic efforts “don’t put the university at any kind of risk in terms of their federal funding” (https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/11/15/).
[iii] According to an internal 2011 memo of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, officers are subject to certain restrictions upon entering college campuses and churches without authorization. (https://www.ice.gov/doclib/ero-outreach/pdf/10029.2-policy.pdf)