NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED574550
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2017-Jan
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
The University as a Sanctuary
Pullias Center for Higher Education
Soon after the election of Donald J. Trump as President-elect of the United States, many faculty, students, and staff throughout the country campaigned to have their campuses designated as "sanctuaries." Although the concept of a sanctuary dates to the ancient Greek and Roman empires, it has special historical significance for the United States. For decades, sanctuaries have offered a wide range of individuals--including conscientious objectors to war and faith-based social activists--protection from targeted political prosecution (Lippert, 2013). Nevertheless, the call for a college or university to become a sanctuary is relatively new. The impetus for the call concerns President-elect Trump's repeated demand to reverse the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy and deport all undocumented individuals from the United States. Approximately 730,000 individuals who have applied and been approved for DACA are amongst those who might be deported (Hipsman, Gómez-Aguiñaga, & Capps, 2016). When President Obama made DACA official through an executive order, eligible undocumented students were offered a glimmer of hope. In return for registering with the U.S. government, students were assured that they would not be deported. Furthermore, they would be eligible for work permits that required renewal every two years. Even though DACA does not offer a path to citizenship, it enables students to study and work in the United States as long as they follow the rules. Insofar as DACA is an executive order, it can be rescinded by a subsequent administration. The result is that the Trump administration will have the names of individuals who could be potentially arrested and deported. Many of the 730,000 "childhood arrivals" attend a postsecondary institution. This report offers a brief overview of what the traditional understanding of a sanctuary has been and consider the current calls for colleges and universities to become sanctuaries. The report delineates the specific points that have been articulated across institutions, as well as the potential consequences of an institution calling itself a "sanctuary." Finally, the report offers possible steps for those working in higher education to consider during the coming years of the Trump Administration. [The primary contributors for this report are William G. Tierney, James D. Ward, Zoe Corwin, Federick Ngo, Michelle Cadena, Arely Acuna Avilez, Marissiko Wheaton, Carlos A. Galan, and Michael Lanford.]
Pullias Center for Higher Education. University of Southern California Rossier School of Education, Waite Phillips Hall Room 701, 3470 Trousdale Parkway, Los Angeles, CA 90089. Tel: 213-740-7218; Fax: 213-740-3889; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: University of Southern California, Pullias Center for Higher Education