What does it mean to be a sanctuary?

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To the campus community:
 
Students, faculty, and staff at colleges and universities across the country are calling for their institutions to become sanctuary campuses. Last week, I received a petition requesting that UW Bothell be declared a sanctuary campus. As President Cauce noted in her recent letter to campus, the essence of what is meant by “sanctuary” is that campus safety does not and will not detain or question individuals solely because they lack documentation, and does not and will not inquire about immigration status when interacting with people. That is the policy at UW Bothell just as it is on the Seattle campus.
 
The petition, signed by over 500 individuals, the large majority of them members of the UW Bothell community, requests that the campus take “action that demonstrates this University’s dedication to concretely support all of its students, regardless of their immigration status.” I am committed to responding to the full extent possible to the requests in this petition.
 
Some -- such as making “a public declaration of our university’s support for and protection of undocumented students, staff, and their families on campus” – can be answered today. Let me be clear about my own commitments and those of UW President Ana Mari Cauce: “The University’s policies and commitments are clear and have not changed. We are fully committed to providing a safe, secure and welcoming environment that protects the privacy and human rights of all members of our community.” Other requests will take longer, such as working with the City of Bothell to explore whether the city will, like Seattle, declare itself a sanctuary city, thereby encompassing our campus community in this commitment.
 
The following are specific actions I have taken in response to the petition:
 
Last week, we authorized hiring a full-time staff member to support undocumented students. The search for this position will begin as soon as possible and we ask those involved in the search process to expedite it.
 
I have asked the Diversity Council to review the entire list of requests in the petition and to recommend to me how we can move forward as a campus community in support of our students, staff and faculty. As I’m determined to implement as many of the recommendations as possible by the end of this calendar year, I ask the Diversity Council to send me its recommendations by December 15, 2016.
 
Unless otherwise required by law, we will not release information regarding immigration status of students, staff and community members or assist immigration law enforcement activities. While we can commit to not voluntarily cooperating with or facilitating Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on campus, UW Bothell does not have the authority to exclude or interfere with federal government agents doing their jobs. 
 
Along with President Cauce and over 300 college and university presidents and chancellors, I have signed a statement urging our nation’s leaders to uphold, continue and expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.