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OSU a sanctuary campus
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OSU a sanctuary campus

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Oregon State University has joined the sanctuary campus movement.

In an announcement to the campus community on Monday, President Ed Ray attempted to assuage fears that students in the country illegally may be deported after President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January.

Trump pledged during the election campaign to boot millions of illegal immigrants out of the country, prompting students at some U.S. universities to demand that their campuses become safe havens. On Wednesday, about 100 OSU students marched on the administration building to seek similar assurances from Ray.

He told the students he was sympathetic to their cause but wasn’t sure how much power he had to help. On Monday, he spelled out what he was — and wasn’t —prepared to do.

“Oregon State University is fully committed to diversity of all kinds, and we stand united for inclusivity and the safety of all people,” the message reads in part. “Oregon State will be a sanctuary for its students.”

Ray goes on to promise that OSU will not enforce federal immigration laws; will not facilitate federal immigration actions or honor federal immigration information requests unless required to do so by a valid warrant, court order or emergency health and safety concerns; will vehemently oppose any federal effort to create a registry based on immigration status or other protected characteristics such as race, religion, national origin or sexual orientation; and will not release any confidential student information to federal agencies unless required by law.

The message also points out that Oregon is already a sanctuary state, with laws barring state law enforcement agencies from going after people whose only crimes are immigration violations.

“In the next few days, I plan to meet again with students who have expressed concerns over federal immigration matters,” the message says. “I also plan to meet with and listen to other students and to learn how they are navigating these uncertain times.”

Reporter Bennett Hall can be reached at 541-758-9529 or bennett.hall@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter at @bennetthallgt.

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Special Projects Editor, Corvallis Gazette-Times and Albany Democrat-Herald

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