City College Board of Trustees passed Resolution 17 at its meeting on Thursday, Jan. 26 to reaffirm its existing policies regarding the college being a “safe place” for all of its students.
The college remains dedicated to the success of each student and is committed to serve all students without regard to immigration status, race, age, gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, medical conditions or disabilities, or socioeconomic status.
“This is a way of us saying yes, we really mean it. It is not just a slight thing for us, it is very real,” Trustee Peter Haslund said.
However, many question the resolution’s power when comparing it to a larger governmental scale. Students, faculty and staff across the country fear how they will be affected by President Trump’s executive order to increase immigration officers at schools, carry out deportations and call for the defunding of sanctuary cities.
“We cannot be a sanctuary campus, everything here is in accordance to whatever is allowed to us by law,” Trustee Veronica Gallardo said.
Nevertheless, the importance for freedom of speech was discussed at the meeting. Board members thanked the audience for showing up and making public comments.
“Have a little faith,” Trustee Craig Nielsen said. “One man speaking out even if he is the president of this country is not the whole government. And the process takes time, it doesn’t happen overnight. Our country is not a dictatorship; it is a participative form of government.”
Despite President Trump’s executive order, the California Community Colleges Board of Governors declared that all 113 community colleges should remain accessible to all students who meet the minimum requirements for admission, regardless of immigration status. The resolution gave compliance in that they have been and will continue to support this.
“This resolution sends a strong and clear statement especially to our undocumented students that we are on their side, and that we care, and we value their education, and that we have their back,” Trustee Jonathan Abboud said.
According to City College’s mission statement, the college “provides students a diverse learning environment that inspires curiosity and discovery, promotes global responsibility, and fosters opportunity for all.”
Passing the resolution simply reaffirms and takes a stand on what City College is known for as a public community college. There will continue to be financial aid services and counseling for all students to achieve academic success and emotional well-being.
“Santa Barbara City College has always been safe,” Gallardo said.
The board believes that they aren’t in any undue legal risk by supporting the resolution. It trusts that the state of California is on City College’s side and future students might show interest in coming to the college knowing it’s accepting and taking action.
“This is a crisis, but we shall weather it and we will do our best to weather it together,” Nielson said.