Sanctuary at the U of M, Twin Cities

University+of+Minnesota+President+Eric+Kaler
University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler

Associated Press

Associated Press

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler

Matt Wilkinson, Staff Writer

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In November, a petition circulated the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus that collected over 1,500 signatures from students and faculty. The purpose of the petition was simple: to turn the school’s campus into a ‘sanctuary campus.’ And, no, not like a bird sanctuary.
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, a sanctuary is “a place of refuge or protection,” and this is exactly how the term is being used now in politics and media. A sanctuary city is a city that welcomes illegal immigrants and refugees. If a city has adopted this policy, their police force will be instructed to disregard federal regulations regarding the deportation of their undocumented populace.
The U of M is working to initiate a campus-wide policy that prevents non-citizen students from being deported so they may continue their studies in peace.
University president Eric Kaler responded to this petition with immediate and resounding support for the mission of his students.
In a prepared statement, Kaler read, “I want to assure you that the University’s senior leadership team and I are firmly committed to the safety of all of our students, including immigrants and undocumented students. And, we will advocate for them to be able to attend the University and continue their studies uninterrupted.”
These statements came at a time of political uncertainty. A new president with completely new ideals had been elected, and few knew how he would develop his position on immigration, especially considering the unrelenting ‘America First’ messages throughout his election. Trump announced that he would completely remove federal funding from any of cities or states (watch out, California) that classify themselves as sanctuary areas. And, yes, Minneapolis and St. Paul are sanctuary cities and could lose tens of millions of dollars if President Trump does decide to revoke this funding.
So, should the U of M be worried about these threats by the Trump administration? The short answer is no. The long answer is almost certainly not at all whatsoever. The University only receives about one-half of one percent of their funding from federal appropriations, $17.7 million out of their total $3.8 billion budget, so a loss of federal funding would not significantly impact university operations.
It seems as though the University of Minnesota has already started quite a bit of beef with the Trump administration. Not only are they defying his immigration orders, but they are a nonsectarian public school (oh, the horror!), and thus, they are seen as blasphemous in the eyes of Betsy DeVos.
So, if you support the effort to protect the human rights of people who were simply born elsewhere on this small planet called Earth, you should be pretty proud of your state university right about now. If you are reading this in utter horror as a diehard Trump-head, yet have already committed to the U, don’t be deterred by the shared “liberal propaganda” BS views shared by both the University’s administration and this humble Breezes writer. Stand up for what you believe, even if it means reducing human lives to skittles.

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