January 30, 2017. By Hilary Broman
Senior Staff Reporter
Many CNM staff, faculty and students have signed a petition requesting a statement from CNM that clarifies how CNM intends to protect students, faculty and staff from threats, discrimination and harassment that they may face due to the most recent president-elect, as stated in the request.
Seamus O’Sullivan, CNM political science and sociology instructor, drafted the request, he said.
“Our primary interest is, if we see some rapid change in immigration policies, how might it affect our students,” O’Sullivan said.
O’Sullivan and other faculty and staff want to create a safe space, a sanctuary, for students who are vulnerable, he said.
“We are concerned that members of our community are at heightened risk of harassment and discrimination,” the request says.
The request for sanctuary agrees with a quote from an email that CNM President Katherine Winograd sent on November 18th, “CNM’s longstanding tradition of being a welcoming place for all” as well as its history of being “a safe haven for students of all backgrounds – including students who have been previously disenfranchised with education and their place in the world,” and then the request expresses concern for the safety of undocumented students.
“We believe a clear and emphatic statement that pledges specific supports and protections for vulnerable students is warranted,” the request states.
O’Sullivan is optimistic about the outcome of the petition, he said.
“Even though I expect opposition, I expect a lot more support than I do opposition,” he said, “Administration’s concern is the students, just like ours.”
Also, the fact that we are in New Mexico adds to O’Sullivan’s optimism, he said
Santa Fe Community College, New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico also have similar efforts underway, O’Sullivan said.
Brandon Morgan, a History instructor at CNM, signed the petition because he believes that it is important for CNM as an institution to make a clear declaration in support of undocumented students, he said.
“In the current political and social climate, it is imperative for us to directly and publicly side with the undocumented members of our community who we have welcomed, and who have given so much to make CNM and Albuquerque a wonderful place to live,” he said.
Morgan stated that several of his students have expressed concerns about the ability to continue taking classes or working if legal protections from deportations are removed.
“These students are hard workers who contribute to our classes, and who volunteer their time for the community,” he said.
“I love living and working in the CNM community,” he said, “I believe that as a community we espouse the stated CNM values, so I have high hopes that undocumented students will not face intensified harassment and discrimination here. Let us remember that no human being is illegal.”
125 people have already signed the petition.
Although O’Sullivan did not have a specific goal for the number of signatures obtained, he plans to turn the petition in soon, he said.
Read the request for sanctuary and sign the petition here.