Adams State Trustees uphold principles of equity

(05-12-2017)

The Board of Trustees for Adams State University adopted a resolution to uphold principles of equity at its May 12 regular meeting on the Adams State campus. Board Chair Arnold Salazar explained the resolution was developed over the last three months through a process that included input from the campus, community, and trustees. The term "sanctuary" was removed from the final resolution, he said, because "We could not, in good conscience, declare ASU a sanctuary campus because that would imply protections we are unable to guarantee."

A proposed resolution to declare Adams State a sanctuary campus was presented at the board's February 16 meeting by the university's Latinx Caucus. The proposed resolution was developed through consultation with a wide cross-section of Adams State staff, then vetted and endorsed by President's Council, AS&F Student Government, various members of Executive Council, the President's Advisory Group, and many others.

The board convened a special meeting March 13 to discuss the proposed resolution with campus and community members, collect additional research, and obtain additional legal advice. Several individuals presented their perspectives on the issue. The board then authorized formation of a committee including faculty, students, and a trustee to make changes to the proposed resolution as needed, subject to advice from the Attorney General's Office. The resulting amended resolution was presented at the May 12 trustee meeting, where it was approved with revisions.

The trustees approved the revised resolution based on the principles embodied in the university's Core Purpose, which reads: "to educate, serve, and inspire our diverse populations in the pursuit of their lifelong dreams and ambitions." The resolution is also supported by Adams State's status as Colorado's first four-year, federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution. Adams State's student body is the most ethnically diverse in the state.

"Our core objective is to continue to offer all of our students a safe, open academic environment where everyone feels included. Protecting the safety of any one student means we must work to assure the safety of every student," Salazar added. "We intend to protect our students as much as possible, while complying with Federal laws."

Adams State President Beverlee J. McClure said, "As an institution of higher learning, we promote a culture of open communication and the free exchange of diverse perspectives. For nearly 100 years, Adams State has stood as an institution committed to providing a safe haven for learning, growing, and expanding." McClure was one of 550 college and university presidents who signed the "Statement in Support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and our Undocumented Immigrant Students."

The approved resolution follows:

Adams State University Board of Trustees Resolution

Whereas Adams State University upholds the principles of equity outlined in this resolution, Whereas Adams State is Colorado's oldest federally-designated Hispanic Serving Institution, with the most ethnically diverse student body in the state,

Considering that ASU's core purpose is to "educate, serve, and inspire our diverse populations in the pursuit of their lifelong dreams and ambitions,"

Taking into account that the San Luis Valley is an agricultural region, which means that ASU is different from its counterpart institutions across Colorado because it serves students from different backgrounds who might not otherwise be able to get a quality education,

Remaining ever vigilant that a healthy, safe campus environment is crucial for the recruitment and retention of students, faculty, and staff,

Emphasizing that institutions of learning should be celebrated as promoting a culture of open communication, dialogue, and the free exchange of diverse perspectives,

Considering that members of our campus feel deeply disturbed by disparaging rhetoric which has created a climate of fear among individuals and groups that create the diverse community of Adams State,

With concern for those in the greater community and, indeed, the country who feel threatened by an increasing sense of marginalization and isolation due to policies targeting underrepresented populations,

Continuing to help students access legal and other resources, and to connect with community resources, organizations, and services dedicated to protecting the rights and safety of all individuals,

Affirming that President Beverlee J. McClure, along with more than 550 presidents of other colleges and universities around the country, signed the "Statement in Support of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program and our Undocumented Immigrant Students,"

Appreciating President Beverlee J. McClure's letter to ASU, stating, "I recognize that for women, minorities and the LGBTQ community, fear is very real. On this campus, we will not tolerate any kind of intimidation. For nearly 100 years, Adams State has stood as an institution committed to providing a safe haven for learning, growing and expanding. Here, you are safe,"

Further noting President Beverlee J. McClure's letter to all members of Adams State University, which reiterated that "[T]his is a safe place," and finally, Further recognizing President McClure's letter which requested that we, "our university, our community, and our world: find the courage to be kind. Now is the time for us to be united and continue standing strong in the face of fear and hate."

The Board of Trustees Resolves That it:

  1. Affirms its mission and commitment to all students;
  2. Continues to publicly support the continuation of the DACA program and the Colorado Advancing Students for a Stronger Economy Tomorrow (ASSET) Program;
  3. Maintains compliance with all Federal laws;
  4. Stimulates intellectual, academic and scholarly activities that promote the mitigation of hatred and prevent the persecution of difference;
  5. Pledges leadership to other institutions to promote a safe environment for all students;
  6. Studies and facilitates critical discourse about community, state and national sanctuary efforts;
  7. Protects all students to the fullest extent possible, by
    a. Directing that the Office of the President be immediately notified about all requests for immigration related information by US Immigration Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), or any other agency.
    b. Vigorously evaluating requests for information from ICE, CBP, USCIS, or other agencies and refraining from information sharing not required by law.
    c. Continuing to comply with all Family Education Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations, which includes the vigilant safeguarding of our students' personal information.
  8. Refrains from the development, implementation and enforcement of policies that could result in the deportation of any student, faculty member, or staff member without proper legal representation, due process, and fair and impartial judicial hearings;
  9. Recognizes the role of ASU's police in protecting the safety of all students and cooperating with law enforcement agencies as needed, noting that enforcement of immigration laws is outside the scope of campus police jurisdiction;
  10. Prohibits housing discrimination based on immigration status;
  11. Supports undocumented and DACA students' equal access to in-state tuition as per Colorado law and to institutional financial aid and scholarships, and further supports the ability of qualified immigrant students to enroll and sustain their attendance by leveraging institutional funds and scholarships, and by allowing eligible immigrant students to pay the in-state tuition rate or access institutional financial aid and scholarships on equal footing with other students;
  12. Opposes state and federal government plans mandating a registry for individuals based on their nationality, religious belief, or other criteria;
  13. Continues to promote the values of:
  • opportunity and access for all
  • excellence in teaching and learning
  • growth through inclusion of diverse cultures and ideas
  • a learning and civic community of trust, respect, and civility
  • caring and personal relationships
  • innovation, integrity, and ethical leadership
  • responsible stewardship
   14. And stands unified against divisive forces that would undermine the Core Purpose of Adams State and the educational aspirations of our diverse student body.

By Julie Waechter