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U of MN students prepare for ‘Not My President's Day’ to demand sanctuary campus

By staff |
February 17, 2017
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Minneapolis, MN - On Monday, Feb. 20, exactly a month after President Trump's inauguration, students at the University of Minnesota will rally outside of University President Eric Kaler's office under the slogan "Not My President's Day" to demand that Kaler take action to declare the University a sanctuary campus.

Students, led by the group Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), will smash a Trump piñata on the steps of Morrill Hall at noon and proceed to the University of Minnesota (UMN) president's office where they will deliver their ultimatum demanding action by the university president by the end of the month. The students' ultimatum letter is modeled on a letter that the University of Utah SDS delivered to their university president demand for a sanctuary campus.

While UMN President Kaler has emailed students, staff and faculty at the university, acknowledging their fear that undocumented students will be targeted by the new Trump administration, he has stopped short of declaring the university a sanctuary campus or taking concrete actions to protect these students. Such actions that have been taken by presidents at other universities.

National Students for a Democratic Society issued a call for actions to be organized in support of making university campuses across the country sanctuary campuses for undocumented students. Like sanctuary cities, sanctuary campuses are universities which pledge non-cooperation and non-compliance with federal efforts to repress, detain and deport undocumented immigrants. At the University of Minnesota and in many places across the country, undocumented students are able to attend the university as students and can in some circumstances pay in-state or resident rates of tuition - this policy is already a recognition that undocumented students should be allowed to attend these colleges and universities and the sanctuary campus designation would further allow undocumented students access to education free of the fear of unexpected detention or deportation based on their immigration status.

SDS at the University of Minnesota is organizing this protest on President's Day, under the slogan Not My President's Day, to draw connections between the sanctuary campus movement at local universities and the broader movement to oppose Trump and his right-wing agenda. UMN SDS has participated in the broad umbrella coalition the Resist From Day One coalition in the Twin Cities, which led large marches a month previous on Inauguration Day.

SDS member Skyler Dorr said, "Our national campaign for 'Education for All' connects student struggles around access to education, from overpriced tuition and student debt to demographic underrepresentation for Black and Brown students on campus to the sexism, racism, anti-queer, and anti-Muslim violence that prevents marginalized students from fully participating in campus life. Right now the struggle is to protect our undocumented brothers, sisters, and nonbinary folk and make our universities sanctuary campuses.”