Students march for sanctuary campus
November 18, 2016
Michelle Ravel / The Courier
On Wednesday a large gathering of students and faculty marched from the quad on the outside of the Stockdale Center to the front of Wallace Hall while chanting familiar phrases like, “Say it loud, say it clear. Immigrants are welcome here,” in an effort to push our college into becoming a #SanctuaryCampus. This student-led movement has made its stride across the country where school campuses can ensure a place where people can feel safe from threats like deportation, violence, and racism. Over 80 schools have joined the movement and the number continues to grow.
It is known among the politically active constituents in our country, and on campus, that president-elect Donald Trump has promised to build a wall on the border of Mexico and to not allow Muslim individuals to enter the country. With the aftermath of the election causing several communities and individuals to feel unsure about their wellbeing, the students of Monmouth College, as well as the faculty, want to make those negative feelings disappear. Student Organizer of the walk-out, Marilyn Carteno, spoke about keeping the undocumented community safe after President-Elect Donald Trump takes office and read a prepared statement originally taken from a Letter of Support signed by many members of the faculty. “We will be fostering and welcoming a community for all its members regardless of religion, race, gender, sexuality, and immigration status even in the light of this election that has legitimately frightened students on this campus.” (The full version of the Letter of Support can be found on page 3).
Although the walk-out was the talk of campus, there was also a smaller protest that occurred last week. This protest was slightly broader with a message and goal to give a voice to those who have felt silenced from the recent events including the outcome of the presidential election. Coordinator of the protest Rubi Nogueron urged everyone to struggle with them and to not simply be a Facebook post but rather get out, make a difference, and use your voice. “We want to show the town that we are not going to be silenced based off of election results or what has been going on in America and that we stand together as a community. We are stronger together than apart.” Towards the end of their march the protesters were met with verbal taunts from students of the college, but were dealt with by Monmouth College Security.
Not only have students been expressing their concerns and support, but the faculty has been explicit with its stance on the issue. The Department of Communication Studies released a statement affirming its support of equal academic opportunity and a stand against discrimination and oppression. “We are concerned about the wellbeing of our students and stand ready to work with students, faculty, administrators, and staff to create the changes needed to satisfy the needs of our students and to continue to make Monmouth College a learning community for all of its students.” Many faculty members of the Communication Department were seen taking part in the march during the walk-out, demonstrating their support to the students of Monmouth College and the surrounding community.