College students in Massachusetts rally in name of “sanctuary campuses”

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AMHERST — Students at Amherst College  and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, along with scores of schools nationwide, held rallies this afternoon to proclaim themselves “sanctuary campuses,” despite the fact that the U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement Agency officials are already banned from setting foot on college campuses.

Schools are just one of the many zones listed in a 2011 memo issued by ICE Director John Morton as off-limits for “arrests, interviews, searches, and for purposes of immigration enforcement only, surveillance.”

Sanctuary campus advocates, however, have pointed out that the directive can be dismissed if prior approval is obtained from administrators.

Wednesday’s rally at Amherst College featured students chanting and calling for unity:

Meanwhile, up the road at the UMass-Amherst, faculty reportedly joined students in rallying:

A list of the chants:

UMass-Amherst students later delivered hundreds of petitions to President Kumble R. Subbaswamy, “demanding” that the school “commit to protecting undocumented, refugee and international students, workers and faculty.”

Other items included demanding that administrators “protect the aforementioned constituencies by not collaborating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)” and “commit” the school to becoming a “sanctuary campus by way of a public forum and working with the community.”

The students also demanded that administrators release a statement by 3 p.m. Friday that lays out their plans for complying with the student activists’ demands.

The petition noted that student activists will “be back” at 6 p.m. Friday “to pick up the university’s statement.”


More scenes from the rally: