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Professors pursue immigrant protection

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Dozens of professors and instructors gathered on the University of New Mexico’s campus Friday afternoon to deliver a letter to President Bob Frank that implored him to protect students and the campus community in the aftermath of the presidential election.

“We – students, faculty, staff, alumni and community of UNM – call on you to stand in solidarity with those whose rights, safety and dignity are under attack,” said the letter signed by nearly a thousand professors and instructors. There are about 1,250 full-time faculty members on the main campus.

University of New Mexico President Bob Frank on Friday talks to a students and faculty members after they presented him with a letter asking him to protect students living in the country illegally. (Marla Brose/Journal)

University of New Mexico President Bob Frank on Friday talks to a students and faculty members after they presented him with a letter asking him to protect students living in the country illegally. (Marla Brose/Journal)

The faculty members also wanted to know the specific ways in which UNM will protect faculty, staffers and students who may lose “legal protections for their immigration status or face other serious threats and forms of discrimination.”

Outside the letter, faculty asked Frank to declare UNM a sanctuary campus. The letter outlines what that would look like.

Students nationally are calling on school administrators to declare their campuses sanctuaries, though it’s unclear if they all share the same definition.

The Associated Press reported that advocates say students living in the country illegally have voiced fears of being deported since the election of Republican Donald Trump.

Frank accepted the letter Friday afternoon in his office. He said that only the regents could declare UNM a sanctuary campus, and that other universities are trying to figure out the legal ramifications of labeling the university as such.

“We want all UNM students to be safe and feel embraced as part of our community,” Frank said Friday.

Undocumented students pay in-state tuition rates at UNM.

Faculty members are organizing a follow-up event scheduled for Dec. 2.

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