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AFT Statement of Support for Students

AFT Statement of Support for Our Students, Colleagues, and Communities

Adopted by AFT Seattle Local 1789 and AFT Seattle Pro-Staff Local 6550

 

As Faculty members and Professional staff, we are committed to visibly promote safe workplaces, classrooms and communities, especially in the current climate of hate and fear that is taking a toll on our campus and campuses around the country. As educators, we must act to defend the ideals upon which our college is founded and the people who bring them to life. We stand in solidarity with our Muslim, Jewish, immigrant, undocumented, LGBTQ, disabled, black, brown, women and all students and staff who now feel their lives, safety, and/or access to resources threatened; and we make the following commitments to protect our community and our shared values:

 

* We will not voluntarily cooperate with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement unless legally compelled by a warrant or subpoena for specific individuals.

* We will strictly follow FERPA guidelines and refuse to voluntarily release academic records, employment records, or membership lists of organizations to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or other law enforcement agencies targeting members of the campus community solely on the basis of their immigration status, religion, racial or ethnic background, sex or gender identity, sexual preference, union affiliation, or political affiliation.

* We will defend the principles of academic freedom and the free exchange of ideas from political interference. Specifically we decry and defend against the un-American practice of blacklisting faculty, whether they are tenured, untenured, or non-tenure-track. We must similarly defend the free association rights of campus workers, students and their respective organizations.

* We will aggressively protect the civil rights of all members of the campus community from crime. This must include coordinated institutional action to protect campus workers, students, and instructional staff against hate crimes and sexual assault, ensuring their physical safety, and providing for their ability to conduct their work and studies in an environment free from intimidation and discrimination. This necessarily involves continued use of the guidelines for handling sexual assault cases released by the Office for Civil Rights on April 4,

2011 and expanded upon on April 29, 2014, and preserving the guidance regarding transgender students released on May 13, 2016.

* We will do everything we can to provide the financial, academic, and social supports to students, faculty, and campus workers that are necessary to ensure true educational opportunity and economic well-being, recognizing that these supports are particularly vital for members of the campus community who may be the targets of government or private action solely on the basis of their immigration status, religion, racial or ethnic background, sex or gender identity, sexual preference, or political affiliation.

 

What we are facing is unprecedented; our response must also be unprecedented. As we make this commitment to stand with our students, our colleagues, and our community, we remain mindful of our nation’s history. We remember the genocide of indigenous peoples; we remember the enslavement of millions of persons of African descent, and the Jim Crow era of racial segregation; we remember the forced internment of over 120,000 persons of Japanese descent during World War Two; we remain aware of the continued mass incarceration of over two million human beings caught in the trap of the U.S. prison industrial complex; and we do not forget that our broken immigration system forces millions of people to live under constant threat of violence, exploitation, and deportation. We pledge to work together to learn from and break this historical cycle of oppression. We pledge during this time of great challenge and uncertainty to proactively reject any attacks against our campus community, especially against those of us who are most vulnerable.

 

As faculty and staff, we ask that our college administration join us in taking action to defend our campus community by publicly adopting the commitments outlined in this statement. In so doing, our leadership affirms our college’s core academic mission and commits to supporting the students, faculty, and campus workers who live this mission on a daily basis. As faculty and staff we believe that we can remain committed to changing lives through education only if we stand together to proactively oppose any federal policies or executive actions that threaten our ability to remain a safe and inclusive institution for all of our students and colleagues.

 

We look forward to continuing to collaborate across our institution, and we believe that in working together to face the challenges of this moment, we strengthen the bonds and transformative promise of all the diverse individuals, groups and communities that constitute the Seattle Colleges family.

 

 

 

 

Resources:

ACLU – Know Your Rights - https://www.aclu-wa.org/know-your-rights NW Immigrant Rights Project - https://www.nwirp.org/resources/know-your-rights CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) - http://cairseattle.org/the-cair-wa-story (resources and place to report anti-Muslim discrimination)

 

AFT NATIONAL COALITION PARTNERS

 

For additional resources, you can reach out to these groups that have been active in the fight for sanctuary campuses:

 

Cosecha http://www.lahuelga.com/

Cosecha is a nonviolent movement fighting for permanent protection, dignity and respect for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Cosecha has held a national day of action calling for #SanctuaryCampus with more than one hundred campuses participating.

 

End Rape on Campus http://endrapeoncampus.org/

End Rape on Campus (EROC) works to end campus sexual violence through direct support for survivors and their communities; prevention through education; and policy reform at the campus, local, state, and federal levels.

 

The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools http://www.reclaimourschools.org/

The Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools (AROS) is an unprecedented alliance of parent, youth, community and labor organizations that together represent over 7 million people nationwide. We are fighting to reclaim the promise of public education as our nation's gateway to a strong democracy and racial and economic justice.

 

American Federation of Teachers – Higher Education http://www.reclaimhighered.org/

The American Federation of Teachers represents over 100,000 of the one million full and part-time nontenure-track faculty in the US, making us the largest union of faculty and of contingent faculty.