Yesterday afternoon, students stood up from their desks and marched in solidarity to the Library Mall at UNT then to the Denton Square, demanding for sanctuary campuses in Denton.
Across from the SGA booth, students stood on the fountain holding signs that read, “Make UNT a safe haven” and “We Stand Together.” One student stood on the fountain wearing her green cap and gown and a serape stole. Police officers stood by, listening the students chant, “Safe for you, safe for me, sanctuary UNT.”
More than 200 hundred students, even Spider-Man crowded around the protestors, many unsure about what the protests were even about. Some thought it was for a safer campus after the Ohio State attacks, others thought it was another protest regarding Trump’s election.
These students are fighting against Trump’s campaign plans on repealing the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act, and his vow to cut federal funding for sanctuary cities and campuses, but they are also fighting for more.
The students created a petition that has around 1,000 signatures, and a letter to the administration. The letter and the petition calls for UNT and TWU to be a sanctuary school and for these requirements to be met:
Issue a public statement stating the university’s commitment to making UNT and TWU a sanctuary school, guarantee privacy for students, staff and faculty’s immigration status, refuse to corporate with federal authorities during attempted deportation raids on campus, denouncing hate speech to any minority group on campus, have confidential counseling available for undocumented and DACA students, assign the administrative office to council DACA and undocumented students, have in-state resident tuition rates for DACA and undocumented students that qualify, prohibit housing discrimination, in the event of student deportation or imprisoned provide online continuation of their courses.
“At the front of campus there was a quote ‘Only The Educated Are Free,” David Lopez, senior at UNT and one of the leaders of the movement stated. “When the university allows the government to take away education from the undocumented they are taking away that freedom.”
The student body circled around chanting, “Sí se puede” (roughly translated from Spanish to “Yes we can”), although some student bystanders were displeased with the protests saying it was “stupid”and “we should just stick to our own opinions.”
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is also against sanctuary campuses and cities. Abbott tweeted that he would cut funding for sanctuary campuses and sign a law banning sanctuary cities. President Smatresk has also denounced UNT as a sanctuary school.
With the pressure from the Texas legislative, UNT administration and other students, these protestors will continue to stick together in hopes of creating a safe haven on campus.
“We will not stop until UNT and TWU are sanctuary schools,” Lopez states, “We are skipping class to do this and marching to the square to show the administration we are serious.”
To visit Sanctuary UNT’s Facebook page for more information click here
To read the letter to the administration click here
If interested to sign the petition click here