Sanctuary campus: Statement of principles


President Jonathan Veitch announced the Occidental College Board of Trustees' unanimous adoption of principles to guide the College's response to potential changes in federal immigration policy.

To the Oxy Community:

Now more than ever, we must proclaim our cornerstone values of excellence, equity, community and service. These values are consistent with a deeply felt opposition to bigotry, discrimination, and hate in any form, whether based on race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship, immigration status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ideology, disability, or socioeconomic status.

We have been engaged in an important effort with key stakeholders in the Oxy community, including our Board of Trustees, to more clearly define our commitment as a sanctuary campus, as there is no universal definition of the term. I’m pleased to report that on Monday (1/23) the Board of Trustees unanimously voted in support of the guiding values, principles and actions outlined in this statement. Although we cannot predict the future direction or implementation of federal law, there can be no question about our mission or the values we share as a community.

Guided by our shared values, in order to continue to support faculty and staff, provide all of our gifted and diverse students with an enriching educational experience of the highest quality, and pursue our deeply rooted commitment to the public good, we affirm that absent a lawful subpoena or judicial process:

  • Occidental will not honor requests for the education records of students or confidential personnel records without the individual’s written consent. Occidental will continue to vigorously protect the privacy of all members of the Oxy community. All provisions of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) still apply.
  • Occidental will not voluntarily assist any federal, state or local agency in connection with their enforcement of federal immigration law. Furthermore, Campus Safety will not question or detain any person on the basis of that person’s immigration status.
  • Occidental will not voluntarily cooperate with any effort to create a registry of individuals based on religion, national origin, race, sexual orientation, or other protected status.

Furthermore, we affirm that:

  • Occidental will continue to enforce its policies and procedures that deal with harassment, discrimination and retaliation while protecting freedom of expression. We will continue to provide support to those who have been targeted and take appropriate action against violators of College policy.
  • Occidental will vigilantly monitor relevant changes in federal law and policies. We will continue to vigorously advocate for public policies that reflect our values and our mission, and challenge those that do not.
  • Occidental will continue to identify on- and off-campus resources available for community members who are in need, and will update its online resource directory as needed.

In an effort to build upon these principles and explore additional strategies regarding these issues, we are convening a symposium in March that will bring together subject matter experts, immigration advocacy groups, and our counterparts at other California colleges and universities. It is our hope that convening this extended network will make it possible to plan how we can work together and create a powerful collective voice.

Given the uncertainty of the circumstances that lie ahead, we will revisit the provisions of our commitment when necessary, informed in part by what we learn from our upcoming symposium. We look forward to the important work ahead of us.

Best,
Jonathan