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- In a letter addressed to the University Community, published two days after the election of Donald J. Trump as the next president of the United States, Chancellor Gallagher wrote that:
- “Our University was founded before the U.S. Constitution was written, and our purpose--to improve human lives and our society through knowledge--is as important today as it ever was. Learning and discovery are made possible through values of respect, inclusion, integrity, and freedom of expression. This is why we remain committed to these values and why supporting diversity and an inclusive environment are vital priorities for our University. I believe that what our country needs most during this time of change is precisely what we can best offer: an ability to work together to deepen our understanding of critical problems and an ability to work together to develop solutions to these very problems.”
- We are pleased that you would like to work with us to develop solutions to the situation which we have found ourselves in. The University has declared this to be the Year of Diversity, and while the University is yet to reckon with it’s complacency in white supremacy, we believe that this is a signal that the University is capable of committing itself to more concrete changes and to confront its role in social hierarchy.
- We are here today, having walked out of our classes, to respond to a nation-wide call to action issued by Movimiento Cosecha. As a diverse student body, many of us feel threatened by the results of the election last Tuesday. Donald Trump’s campaign platform was not simply words; the legislative plans that the president elect and his policy advisors have presented and pledged to implement within his first 100 days in office further threaten the safety of many members of our community, and are already encouraging an unprecedented rise in white supremacist hate crimes against marginalized citizens in just the week since his election. Many of the appointments the president elect has announced thus far have long and troubling histories of bigotry and chauvinism.
- The University’s pledge to uphold the values of inclusion and freedom must also not just be words. We must make concrete changes to protect all members of our community in the face of very real attacks on freedom and safety. As students of the University of Pittsburgh, and in solidarity with the Movimiento Cosecha, we urge you to affirmatively stand with immigrants who study, live, and work in and around our University by adopting a public, written policy communicating the following protections:
- The university, its student body, and the attached police department will refuse all voluntary information sharing with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)/Customs and Border Protection (CBP) across all aspects of the university and it’s community, to the fullest extent possible under the law;
- The university refuses ICE physical access to all land owned or controlled by the university;
- The university prohibits campus security from inquiring about or recording as to an individual’s immigration status or enforcing immigration laws or participating with ICE/CBP in actions.
- The university will not use E-Verify in hiring or application .
- The university prohibits housing discrimination based on immigration status.
- This policy shall be enforced by all university staff, contractors and subcontractors, as well as their employees working on property owned or controlled by the university.
- The university commits to ongoing dialogue with the student body about additions to the university policy and support for community efforts that protect immigrants who study, live, and work at the university and their families and the community.
- Immigrants are not the only group who found themselves targeted by the most hateful campaign in recent memory. In solidarity with all groups who find themselves fearing the transition of power, we issue the following demands to make this campus a sanctuary campus for all of its people:
- Refusal to honor or recognize federal or state laws, statutes, or regulations which target members of the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as a further and more transparent commitment to bettering the institution’s treatment of the same community.
- Improved advocacy and justice for survivors of sexual assault according to the needs of the survivor, and zero tolerance for sexually abusive or intimidating behaviors by any member of the Pitt community.
- The disarmament of the University police force.
- Complete access of students to campus buildings and facilities for the purposes of their safety, community building, and collaborative learning, as afforded to them by our payment of tuition and fees.
- Assurance of a campus free from hostility, aggression, and bullying on the bases of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation, in accordance with Title IX by committing to zero tolerance for behaviors of this nature and resources to encourage and facilitate intervention of bystanders to such incidents within the Pitt community.
- An end to the harassment of student and community activists by University police.
- A firm commitment to increased affordability and accessibility of the University to all individuals, by an immediate tuition freeze and the establishment of a living wage for the Pitt community.
- An increased commitment of resources towards providing adequate mental and physical health support for students through Student Health including immediate filling of all vacant resident positions.
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