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BOT Responds to Petition

Published: November 22, 2016

CHENEY, Washington - During a special meeting of the Board of Trustees (BOT) Tuesday, Nov. 22, members unanimously approved the following statement in response to a petition asking the BOT to name EWU a so-called Sanctuary Campus. This document is the official position of the university:

Eastern Washington University (EWU) remains committed to our values, which include accessibility and inclusion. Since our inception, the university has worked to ensure our campus is a safe learning environment for every student and a safe workplace for all faculty and staff. This will always be a top priority.

Last week, EWU's Board of Trustees (BOT) received a petition to name the university a "sanctuary campus." During an extended public comment period of our regular BOT meeting, we heard directly from students, faculty, and staff. The comment period provided an opportunity for us to listen thoughtfully to the concerns of many. It also reinforced the fact that EWU is much more than a "sanctuary."

While a sanctuary is defined as a "place of refuge" or a "port in a storm," we assert that EWU is much more than this. EWU serves as a catalyst for change and a place of hope for our entire student body regardless of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation or beliefs, or disabilities. It is a place that values civil discourse, respectful exchange of ideas, and learning.

EWU is much more than a safe harbor. While we continue efforts to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff, we also continue our profound commitment to launch an educated workforce for the region and state. Student success is the heart of our mission.

To this end, EWU remains a campus that has zero tolerance for harassment, discrimination, bullying, or vandalism. These behaviors violate our university policies and the Student Conduct Code, as well as, in many cases, federal and state laws. We must all be vigilant in our efforts to create a safe and welcoming place for everyone. If you are aware of anyone violating these policies, please report your concerns to the EWU Police Department, Dean of Student's Office, Human Resources, or the Office of the President.

EWU also reaffirms its commitment to protecting the safety, security, and well-being of its students and staff, regardless of their immigration status, within the limits of the law. Enforcement of federal immigration law is within the discretion of the federal government. Thus, the EWU Police Department does not question, detain, or arrest individuals solely because they may lack documentation of legal status. Although we do not have the power to prohibit federal officers from entering our campus, we will do everything in our power to ensure they respect and support our mission to educate and transform the lives of all our students.

EWU also complies with federal privacy laws that provide legal protections for our students' education records, including any information regarding their immigration status.

As we move forward through the academic year, EWU will continue to provide opportunities for dialogue and growth. We welcome all voices. The forthcoming President's Dialogues on Diversity will include at least three events to be held between January and June 2017. The Faculty Commons continues to facilitate training and workshops for faculty. Departments and student groups will continue to offer a variety of learning opportunities on our campuses.

Eastern Washington University is responsible for ensuring that everything we do-teaching and learning, student support, research and scholarship, community outreach-contributes to a welcoming environment and to a culture that embraces diversity and fosters mutual respect. We maintain our commitment to provide a safe and quality education for all.

James M. Murphy - Chair, EWU Board of Trustees

Mary Cullinan - Secretary, EWU Board of Trustees

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