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BOT Listens to Concerns

Published: November 21, 2016

CHENEY, Washington - Eastern Washington University's Board of Trustees (BOT) listened as more than two dozen students, faculty and staff shared their political and social concerns during a special comment period at the Board's Nov. 18 meeting in Cheney.

Many who spoke during the two hour session urged the BOT to implement a plan that would in effect make EWU a so-called Sanctuary Campus to support undocumented students, staff or their families.

"Please know we hear you, we value you and we will do all in our power to act on your suggestions," said BOT Chair Jim Murphy, who also noted the university is already addressing and supporting the majority of action items requested in the petition.

Murphy said the BOT had a long discussion Thursday evening about concerns raised in the petition. He reaffirmed the Board's commitment to its key values such as ensuring a culture of inclusion, student support, access and diversity.

EWU President Mary Cullinan, who has distributed several campus messages over the last week to support those people who are feeling uneasy, also reinforced her deep commitment to student safety during the public meeting.

"It is a very emotional time and this university is going to do everything it can to provide the support that is being asked for," said Cullinan. "This rises from our deep commitment to students, and the values we've had for many decades."

President Cullinan pointed to the creation of a new position, a Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion, and the new Presidential Dialogues on Diversity as ways EWU is working to create a more inclusive campus.

The Board of Trustees did not take any action on the petition at Friday's meeting. Administrators say Eastern is working with the State Attorney General's Office to explore what legal steps can be taken to protect students.


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