A petition circulating the University of Portland community asking administration to designate UP a "sanctuary campus" gained more than 1,000 signatures in the past week. On Friday morning, University President Fr. Mark Poorman sent an email to the University community responding to the petition. Read the email in full below:
Dear University of Portland Community,
Like many colleges and universities across the country, we are closely following possible changes to immigration policies and the status of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipients. I write to weigh in on this important issue.
We are a community that believes every person, regardless of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social or economic class, age, or disability should be welcomed as a child of God and treated with respect and dignity. Because we believe this so powerfully, we find ourselves called upon to take a stand for social justice and protect the most vulnerable among us. This is the passion behind the petition to declare the University of Portland a sanctuary campus.
The University of Portland is committed to providing the greatest protection the law allows to every one of our students. We are dedicated to the well-being and success of each of you who has accepted our invitation to be part of this campus community, regardless of status. These are complicated issues for all of us, and we do not have all of the answers the community is seeking right now. We are reaching out to our peer institutions locally and across the country to identify immediate options as well as the potential to work together for a unified response to any changes which might occur in the future.
Additionally, we are exploring what community resources are available that might provide additional legal or other support to our students, faculty, staff, and their families in the event they are affected by future changes to immigration policies.
I commend our students for their passion, compassion, and for their commitment to respectful dialogue, peaceful action, and positive change. In this time of uncertainty and anxiety for the future, we stand together as a community of faith and hope.