While some students protested President Donald Trump’s immigration ban in Baker Center on Wednesday, Ohio University Student Senate passed a bill asking the university to be designated as a sanctuary campus.
The bill was created in reaction to Trump’s immigration ban, which was enacted Jan. 27 and suspended the entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days. The order also blocked the entry of Syrian refugees indefinitely and banned citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the United States for 90 days.
If OU were to become a sanctuary campus, it would not disclose any information about the immigration status of students, faculty and staff without a court order.
“I am so glad that it passed. I am so glad that Student Senate is standing in solidarity with our international community,” Sarah Pinter, environmental affairs commissioner, said. “After seeing the concern and passion of students today in the protest, I am inspired.”
Graduate Senator Mitchell Smith and Graduate Student Senate President Ian Armstrong both pointed out that passing the bill could lead to the federal government cutting off funding to OU.
“We were just voicing general questions, points of information that felt needed to be said. We are just looking for clarification because the bill on the sanctuary campus was sort of nebulous in its idea,” Smith said. “Ian was voicing what the ramifications might be because, at this point, no one knows.”
Sam Miller, president of the OU College Democrats, attended the meeting and voiced her support for the senate’s bill.
“We (the Ohio University College Democrats) all believe that being a sanctuary campus is kind of a step in the right direction,” Miller said. “We also denounce the executive order that Trump put out, as Student Senate did tonight.”
In the middle of the discussion, SAC Commissioner Ellenore Holbrook spoke up to inform everyone about the protest happening in Baker Center. About 70 people were detained toward the end of the demonstration.
“A lot of my friends, peers, acquaintances were at that protest, and they all felt very strongly about that. As a Student Senate member who represents student organizations specifically, I know a lot of them tend to be student leaders and are involved,” Holbrook said. “So I have a lot of empathy for their feelings, what they were doing and the emotions that they were feeling.”
Student Senate members also passed a bill expressing the body’s general disapproval of Trump’s executive order on immigration.
Following the discussion of the two bills focused on the immigration ban, senate members passed a resolution that was tabled last week to allow vice commissioners to assume the commissioner status.
Other resolutions to appoint a member to the Budget Committee and to help pay for International Women’s Week, Sex Week, Rent tickets and pizza for the President’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion Focus Groups passed.