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Students, faculty stage walk out over immigration during Emory president’s inauguration

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Students, faculty stage walk out over immigration during Emory president’s inauguration


Emory students staged a walkout during the inauguration of Emory University’s president. Photo obtained via https://www.facebook.com/emorysanctuary/

This story has been updated. 

Students and Faculty are holding a walkout today, Feb. 8, during the official inauguration of President Claire Sterk to show support for declaring Emory a “sanctuary campus.”

The designation is intended to offer protection to undocumented students. But Sterk has said that she is not in favor of it because it could reduce funding for the university. She has gone on record as being opposed to a controversial executive order signed by President Donald Trump. A federal judge ruled against the order, but the Trump administration signaled it will challenge the judge’s ruling, according to the New York Times. Trump’s order blocks people from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen from entering the U.S. for 90 days, and was initially interpreted to apply to green card holders.

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The walkout, organized by the Emory Sanctuary Coalition, aims to put Emory “on the right side of history.”

The organization says the sanctuary campus is more than a symbolic recognition. It would affirm the university’s commitment to equal access for all students and stipulate that the university would engage in “lawful, non-cooperation with immigration authorities unless required by a judicial warrant.” It would also commit the university to providing support services for undocumented students.

The University issued the following statement in response to the demonstration:

Emory University supports freedom of speech and our open expression policy is designed to ensure that all voices have the opportunity to be heard.  President Sterk appreciates the advocacy of community members for Emory’s continued commitment to its students regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, or immigration status.  This commitment lies at the heart of Emory’s mission to “create, preserve, teach and apply knowledge in the service of humanity.”

President Sterk fully supports the many initiatives that are underway to assist Emory’s undocumented students, and states that the university will continue to strengthen its institutional resources to reinforce that commitment. Emory has historically achieved social change by open communication and collaborative action.  President Sterk will continue to work with community members to ensure that Emory is a place where all students can safely learn and grow without fear of discrimination or persecution.”

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