Columbia Basin College backs immigrant students with new resolution

Columbia Basin College backs immigrant students with new resolution

The Columbia Basin College Faculty Senate passed a resolution in support of their immigrant students.

“I hope they understand that we as faculty kind of have their backs, we’re not out to get them. We don’t need or want to know whether they are legal or illegal,” said resolution author and biology professor Kristy Henscheid.

Immigrant students have been expressing concern about their safety and privacy on campus, following the recent immigration orders by the Trump Administration.

“This is an additional thing that is concerning them and maybe distracting them from being able to focus completely on their studies,” said Henscheid.

Colleges across the country have been taking steps to become sanctuary campuses.

In December, Professor Henscheid, who is in her ninth year at CBC, started thinking about what the college could do to support immigrant students.

“Unfortunately, becoming a sanctuary campus is not something we can do legally speaking, but I wanted to kind of find out what we could do for our students to support them and be aware of the issues they might have,” said Henscheid.

The resolution states CBC proclaims their commitment to creating a respectful and inclusive learning environment by supporting all forms of diversity and protecting the privacy of all student information.

The faculty “pledge to neither ask for nor surrender information regarding students’ immigration or citizenship status.”

Henscheid said the resolution also touches on the teacher-student power dynamic in the classroom.

“I wanted to make sure that our students were aware that this was not something that we as faculty would use as kind of an additional power thing – ‘Do well on this test or I’m going to tell immigration about you,'” she said as an example.

The resolution makes a commitment to follow policies that the college already has in place, affirming the rights of freedom of speech and academic freedom for all students.