December 03, 2016
Following a number of colleges and universities across the country, Swarthmore College declared itself a sanctuary campus Friday.
In a message sent out to the school's students, faculty and staff, Chair of the Board of Managers Thomas Spock and President Valerie Smith said that Swarthmore stands "firm in our commitment to protect and provide sanctuary for all members of our community who may need such protection in the coming months and years, including our undocumented students."
About 2,000 students and faculty asked school officials to become a sanctuary campus, meaning that it would not share its students' immigration information to federal officials or grant such officials access to school grounds.
The school also said that it would not allow its public safety officers to ask students about their immigration status, nor would they participate in the "E-Verify" program which would log students or faculty into a database that determines their eligibility to work in the United States.
"We are proud to add our voice to those rising around the country to protect social justice, mutual respect and tolerance, and the basic principles upon which this country was founded," the message read.
Officials at the University of Pennsylvania, President-elect Donald Trump's alma mater, said in a campuswide email earlier this week that they would also do whatever they could to ensure the "security and success" of undocumented students.
Students at Penn and West Chester University launched online surveys asking their schools to become sanctuary campuses in the wake of Trump's deportation threats.
Other schools across the country, like Wesleyan University in Connecticut along with Connecticut College, have already declared themselves sanctuary campuses.
Students at many Pennsylvania schools, like Swarthmore, Temple University and Brywn Mawr College, participated in a walkout as part of a national day of action that calls on the schools to protect undocumented students earlier this month.
Trump has threatened to cut federal funding to 31 sanctuary cities, including Philadelphia. Sanctuary cities limit what federal authorities know about their undocumented citizens.
Mayor Jim Kenney said that Philadelphia would keep its sanctuary status despite Trump's threats.