Tuesday, July 23, 2019 Elyria 67°

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Adopting 'sanctuary campus' status urged at Oberlin


Jodi Weinberger

The Chronicle-Telegram

OBERLIN — Students and faculty today will march in support of making Oberlin College a sanctuary campus in response to the election of Donald Trump as president.

A petition was submitted to college President Marvin Krislov on Monday by a group of six faculty members asking him to investigate how the college could become a sanctuary campus as a way of offering protection.

With the petition, Oberlin joins a national movement of colleges and universities asking to be a sanctuary campus in reaction to Trump and his campaign promise to deport millions of undocumented immigrants.

Gina Perez, a professor of comparative American studies and one of the faculty members pushing the petition, said becoming a sanctuary campus is in line with Oberlin’s history of protecting the most vulnerable populations.

“My hope is that President Krislov will respond positively and quickly,” Perez said. “It’s another way as a campus community to demonstrate our commitment to providing refuge to the people who need it.”

The petition, which has been signed by more than 2,300 students, faculty, alumni and community members, said taking this action would “honor Oberlin’s stated commitment to social justice, diversity, and inclusion, while extending its history of providing refuge for those seeking freedom.”

Oberlin College students will march in support of the petition at 4:30 p.m. today joining dozens of institutions around the country.

“It’s taking a moral stand against an anti-immigrant sentiment,” Perez said.

Oberlin and Lorain are the only two in Lorain County designated as sanctuary cities.

Oberlin became a sanctuary city in 2009 with a resolution that states it’s “the general practice of the city of Oberlin not to inquire about the immigration status of crime victims, witnesses or others who call or approach the city staff seeking assistance.”

The push to make Oberlin a sanctuary city came in response to the 2008 arrest of Mexican nationals who were working at Casa Fiesta, a restaurant in Oberlin that is now closed.

In 2010, Casa Fiesta owner Ramon Ornelas pleaded guilty to 18 charges, including harboring and concealing illegal immigrants, some of whom were employed at the Oberlin restaurant.

Contact Jodi Weinberger at 329-7245

or jweinberger@chroniclet.com.

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