Baylor students launch petition to turn university into 'sanctuary campus'

(Wikimedia Commons/Michael Barera)The Baylor Sciences Building on the campus of Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

A group of graduate students at Baylor University has created a petition asking its administrators to turn the school into a "sanctuary campus" to provide safe haven to undocumented immigrants.

The petition, which has already received around 1,350 signatures since its introduction on Feb. 6, was addressed to Interim President David Garland and other Baylor officials.

It was created in response to President Donald Trump's executive order related to immigrants and refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries. The petition denounces the order as "incompatible with Baylor's Christian commitments."

"Baylor's profession of the Christian faith commits it to the formation of a hospitable, just, and truth-telling community, especially for the sake of its most vulnerable members, in whom Christians discern the face of Christ," it stated.

The petitioners demand that the university refuse to comply with immigration investigations when possible and to officially condemn Trump's executive order. The signatories also vow to create an office for non-citizen students to expand on-campus services such as financial aid for undocumented students and access to free legal counsel.

It also calls for the creation of a scholarship program that would give special preference to displaced students from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, the seven countries named in Trump's executive order.

Students, alumni and faculty members from over 200 campuses across the U.S. have created similar campaigns, urging their schools to adopt policies similar to those of "sanctuary cities" that refuse to cooperate with the federal government's attempts to detain and deport undocumented immigrants.

Two co-authors of the petition, Thomas Breedlove and Tyler Davis, told The Christian Post that their campaign was distinctive from other sanctuary campus efforts because of its demand that the university officials act in accordance with "its own acknowledged moral commitments."

"Appealing to Baylor's leadership to make Baylor a sanctuary campus is nothing other than petitioning Baylor to participate in the persistent Christian tradition of hospitality and inclusion," they said.

Following the launch of the petition, university officials released a statement acknowledging the Baylor community's support for those who are affected by the executive order.

"The university is aware of the sanctuary petition and fully appreciates the strong support and encouragement of the campus community for our students and scholars who have been impacted by the recent executive order," the statement said.

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