Southern Illinois University System President Randy Dunn today (Jan. 6) announced that none of SIU’s three locations — Carbondale, Edwardsville and the School of Medicine in Springfield — will be designated a sanctuary campus.
SIU Carbondale’s Undergraduate Student Government and Graduate and Professional Student Council sent a letter to Dunn and Interim Chancellor Brad Colwell in December requesting the sanctuary campus declaration to protect undocumented students. Dunn indicated that together with the campus chancellors and other officials, staff would review potential policy and legal considerations, noting also that any decision would apply system-wide.
Dunn said that review concluded that the concept of a sanctuary campus is not clearly defined in any legal sense, adding that the designation suggests that the university would be willing to violate the law. Doing so would put SIU and all of its students at risk, including the potential loss of federal financial aid.
“At the same time, there are key principles that we believe are important during this uncertain period,” Dunn said. “We will continue to do everything we can within the scope of established law to support our students. And we take our responsibility to protect student privacy under the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) very seriously. SIU is committed to an inclusive, welcoming environment in which all of our students can continue progress toward their degrees and graduate on time.”
The issue caught fire on campuses across the country following Donald Trump’s election as president. During the campaign, Trump promised to deport as many as 3 million immigrants who have criminal records or who are living in the country illegally.