UW Bothell community voices support
The emotional 2016 presidential campaign and surprising election raised anxiety on the University of Washington Bothell campus. We see this time as an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to maintain a safe and welcoming campus. Read the messages from campus and diversity leaders.
To the campus community:
Students, faculty, and staff at colleges and universities across the country are calling for their institutions to become sanctuary campuses. Last week, I received a petition requesting that UW Bothell be declared a sanctuary campus. As President Cauce noted in her recent letter to campus, the essence of what is meant by “sanctuary” is that campus safety does not and will not detain or question individuals solely because they lack documentation, and does not and will not inquire about immigration status when interacting with people. That is the policy at UW Bothell just as it is on the Seattle campus.
The petition, signed by over 500 individuals, the large majority of them members of the UW Bothell community, requests that the campus take “action that demonstrates this University’s dedication to concretely support all of its students, regardless of their immigration status.” I am committed to responding to the full extent possible to the requests in this petition.
Some -- such as making “a public declaration of our university’s support for and protection of undocumented students, staff, and their families on campus” – can be answered today. Let me be clear about my own commitments and those of UW President Ana Mari Cauce: “The University’s policies and commitments are clear and have not changed. We are fully committed to providing a safe, secure and welcoming environment that protects the privacy and human rights of all members of our community.” Other requests will take longer, such as working with the City of Bothell to explore whether the city will, like Seattle, declare itself a sanctuary city, thereby encompassing our campus community in this commitment.
The following are specific actions I have taken in response to the petition:
- Last week, we authorized hiring a full-time staff member to support undocumented students. The search for this position will begin as soon as possible and we ask those involved in the search process to expedite it.
- I have asked the Diversity Council to review the entire list of requests in the petition and to recommend to me how we can move forward as a campus community in support of our students, staff and faculty. As I’m determined to implement as many of the recommendations as possible by the end of this calendar year, I ask the Diversity Council to send me its recommendations by December 15, 2016.
- Unless otherwise required by law, we will not release information regarding immigration status of students, staff and community members or assist immigration law enforcement activities. While we can commit to not voluntarily cooperating with or facilitating Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on campus, UW Bothell does not have the authority to exclude or interfere with federal government agents doing their jobs.
- Along with President Cauce and over 300 college and university presidents and chancellors, I have signed a statement urging our nation’s leaders to uphold, continue and expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Bjong Wolf Yeigh, Ph.D., F.ASME
Chancellor and Professor of Engineering
On Thursday, a letter was sent by President Cauce and Provost Baldasty emphasizing the University’s commitment to providing our faculty, staff and especially our students a safe and welcoming campus environment. That includes UW Bothell. We are fully committed to ensuring that diversity, equity and inclusivity remain at the core of how we work, learn and contribute back to our community.
Over the past week, we have seen that commitment lived. Students, faculty and staff are working hard to make sure those who are feeling most vulnerable in these uncertain times are respected and cared for. From supportive hugs and encouraging community emails to participation in difficult discussions in safe spaces, we have seen our UW Bothell community come together.
But we have also heard the voices of many who say they’re waiting for a day when they, too, can replace anxiety and fear about tomorrow with a consistent feeling of safety, belonging and respect. No one should feel like they’re on the outside waiting to be let in. If one of us feels vulnerable, our community is vulnerable. Together, we can do great things on this campus and in our region. Keyword: together. If you see or experience something, say something. We want to help. We’ve just launched a new online bias incident form for students, faculty or staff who witness or experience discrimination. Depending on what you’ve experienced, there are numerous resources on the UW Bothell and Seattle campuses, including Campus Safety, the UW Bothell Care Team, Student Affairs, our Counseling Center and Safe Campus.
We are working with the Seattle campus to address concerns as they arise. If you are concerned about your immigration status or the status of a friend or loved one, please understand that we are one University of Washington and live by the same policies and commitments. UW Bothell Campus Safety does not and will not detain or question individuals solely because they lack documentation. Nor do they or will they inquire about immigration status when they question or otherwise interact with people. We do not release any information to immigration or law enforcement. As President Cauce stated in her email, this is the essence of a sanctuary.
Working together, we will surpass expectations of who we can be as individuals, with each other, as a campus and for our community. We are always ready for your questions, suggestions and even the challenging conversations that will ultimately result in a safer, more welcoming UW Bothell.
Bjong Wolf Yeigh, Ph.D., F.ASME
Chancellor and Professor of Engineering
Vice Chancellor for Advancement and External Relations
Susan Jeffords, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Ruth Johnston, Ph.D.
Acting Vice Chancellor for Administration and Planning
Between November 9 and the morning of Monday, November 14, the Southern Poverty Law Center collected 437 reports of hateful intimidation and harassment, with nearly 70 happening on college campuses. We know UW Bothell is not immune from hate. Read the SPLC article.
As faculty, we find hate crimes and hate speech deplorable and at odds with everything for which UW Bothell stands. Indeed, part of our stated mission is to “Build an inclusive and supportive community of learning and incorporate multicultural content and diverse perspectives on ethnic and racial groups, gender, sexual orientation, social class, and special needs.” Hate speech and hate crimes have no place among people who value each other’s dignity and right to live in safety.
A university is a place for intellectual exchange and exploration. We want our students to feel safe wherever you are in the world, but especially when you are on campus and in our classrooms. Your faculty will work with you to make sure hate does not become a norm on our campus. Indeed, UW Bothell values an inclusive culture, the very antithesis to hate: “Our diverse community promotes understanding and collaboration across disciplines, cultures, and beliefs. All students, staff, and faculty are both learners and teachers mutually engaged in a collective effort.” To echo the words of Chancellor Yeigh, “We will not tolerate this kind of behavior. You should not tolerate it either. If you see it, or experience it, report it. Tell someone—a friend, a faculty member, Safe Campus, or Campus Safety, so that we can aggressively follow up.”
Please also note that UW Bothell has established a bias response form for anyone on campus who has experienced, or been a witness to, an incident of bias or discrimination. You can find the form here.
We, the faculty of UW Bothell, will do our part to help make UW Bothell a place where all people feel respected.
The Executive Council of the General Faculty Organization University of Washington Bothell
Over the past week, several statements have been sent out regarding UW Bothell as a Safe Place. We want you to know that the General Staff Association (GSO) stands behind President Cauce’s message, Chancellor Yeigh’s message and the message from faculty.
The first line the GSO mission statement is “Enhance student access and success through excellence in service”. This means service for all of you who are here and our future students. The staff at UW Bothell want you to feel safe here on campus or where ever you may be and to echo President Cauce: “our University is unwavering in its resolve to create an inclusive, diverse and welcoming community.
We can and will work together to find the best in each other, to bridge our differences and to treat each other with the respect and kindness that all people deserve.” First and foremost, we are concerned with your safety. We will not tolerate hateful intimidation, hate crimes or harassment. If you see or experience something troubling, report it to Safe Campus, or Campus Safety. The staff at UW Bothell are committed to doing their part to make our campus a safe place.
The General Staff Organization