Petition circulates to ask Baylor University to become Sanctuary Campus

Posted at 5:10 PM, Feb 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-08 00:55:36-05

Baylor University faculty, students, staff, alumni and community members are asking the administration to become a sanctuary campus.

In a petition addressed to Baylor University Interim President and the Vice Presidents; the coauthors ask the university

 to ‘refuse to comply with immigration investigations or deportations to the fullest extent possible, including denying access to university property.’

Sanctuary Campuses are an idea like a sanctuary city. It’s a largely symbolic gesture as officials refuse to cooperate and give up(hand over) with the deportation of undocumented immigrants.

One of the co-authors, Laura Lysen the recent executive orders is a test of convictions. "Our lord has decided to place himself within these people that stand before us, the  undocumented people, religious minorities, the people who don't count for much in our society  right now. The question of what we do with them is a question of what we do with our lord and that's what I believe as a christian."

 Lysen said the petition is meant to appeal to the university's Christian identity.  "We ask that they live into or live up to it's public commitments to christian hospitality."

 Lysen feels the reality is that undocumented students, refugees and students in religious minorities are already on campus. She believes  becoming a sanctuary campus allows the university to place deal community issues and reshape the conversation. "The current story or narrative about undocumented people  is not good enough.  The story we have is not adequate to the story of the gospel."

Thomas Breedlove, is one of the seven co-authors of the petition said they worked on it for 10 to 14 days before sharing it. “We tried to keep it relatively short, we talked about sort of the mutual reasons between the executive orders and ongoing history.”

Breedlove said becoming a sanctuary campus embodies the university's own commitment to diversity.  "i think that for Baylor, as confessedly christian, that call for the multiplicity of voices is something we need to tend to not just for own benefit in the classroom, but for charity and gratitude for the god that welcomes us all in.'

Father Nicholas Krause another co-author said the petition is not a partisan effort but rooted in the ethics of Christianity.  "We want this to reach as broadly as possible this is a christian moral issue we stand in solidarity with all of our students we want to call upon others to as well. "

Throughout the petition, there are several references to biblical text. Tom Milley a co-author, pointed to Exodus 22:21 ““You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.” as one of several examples of  to support sanctuary status. 

"I would want to get across how central it is to welcome the stranger in your midst. In the Hebrew scriptures and The Bible as a whole we can look to see how they were refugees themselves in Egypt  fled persecution- they speak very clearly about it. That's what we're trying to represent in this petition trying to get Baylor to claim, that same christian identity that is clear to us as students. "

In the petition they cite the, “complex role that the United States has played in the migration of persons from Latin America and the Muslim-majority countries currently affected by the ban.”As well as an appeal to their core religious beliefs, quoting Biblical passage Exodus 22:21 ““You shall not wrong or oppress a resident alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”

They full petition with all of the demands  can be found here. 

We reached out to Baylor University for comment but they have not yet responded.

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