In the aftermath of the election, thousands of students, professors and alumni from elite schools including Harvard, Yale and Brown, have signed petitions asking that their universities become “sanctuaries” for undocumented students and other community members who are worried about deportation under a Trump administration. As a result, school administrators are scrambling to formulate a response that’s legal, compassionate and practical.
It’s a complicated issue. Undocumented students are currently protected from deportation by an executive order signed by President Obama, which also allows them to work and obtain driver’s licenses. But with the election of Donald Trump – with his strong anti-immigrant rhetoric – an untold number of students and their families are facing uncertain futures. And though Trump has vowed to deport “criminals” first, it’s hard to know which databases his administration will be targeting.
More than 4,000 Harvard students already have signed a petition asking the university to protect undocumented students by, among other things, immediately hiring a new dean of equity, diversity and inclusion, creating a fund to help students with legal expenses, and designating Harvard Memorial Church a refuge for students facing deportation.
“We do not need words of comfort, your pity, or your sympathy,” the petition reads. “We need action that demonstrates this University’s dedication to concretely support all of its students, regardless of their immigration status.”
But it’s unclear what role universities are legally allowed to play, should they choose to take a stand. Terry Hartle of the American Council on Education told the Washington Post, it’s simply too soon to know what colleges can or will do to help undocumented students. “[B]ut whether a college can say, ‘We’re a sanctuary,’ and have it make any meaningful difference is unclear.”
It’s also a deeply contentious issue and one that a significant subset of the population has little patience for. (Click through the Washington Post article and read the comments.)
Either way, the debate is about to get louder. Today, some 120 colleges are planning a walk-out or other public action starting at 3pm eastern. You can follow the news under the hashtags #sanctuarycampus, #sanctuarycity, and #sanctuaryeverywhere.
We'll keep you posted.
The end of post-racial America
Peabody Award winner Nikole Hannah-Jones has constructed a deeply respectful profile of some of the anxious Iowa voters who turned away from the inclusive promise of Obama and toward the tough-talking Trump. Yes, it’s about race and the hazy anxieties about 'the other' that lie beneath the surface and remain unexamined. Trayvon Martin and BLM were, evidently, a bridge too far. “White Americans have ignored race when it serves them and defaulted to it when it suits them,” she writes. A must read.
New Balance has a Neo-Nazi problem now
Ever since a New Balance executive praised Trump and his opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a Wall Street Journal interview, the company has been the target of anti-Trump protesters who have called for boycotts. Videos of New Balance shoes being burned have appeared online. But now, a neo-Nazi blogger named Andrew Anglin has declared New Balance the “Official Shoes of White People.”
Helping teachers become more effective
New teachers are often placed in high-need, low-income school districts. Wildly unprepared, 50% leave the profession within the first three years. The New Teacher Center at UC Santa Cruz is deploying a mentorship model that they believe will support new teachers and help the underserved students who desperately need to succeed.
More diversity in creative professions, please
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Twitter addresses online abuse
Too little, too late? Hard to say. But the company has vowed to do better with handling abuse reports, is training staff to handle trolls, and has expanded the mute feature, allowing users to mute words, phrases, and entire conversations. “Because Twitter happens in public and in real-time, we’ve had some challenges keeping up with and curbing abusive conduct,” said the company. Yes, they have.
Architects are divided over Trump
After the American Institute of Architects (AIA) issued a statement in support of the new president, specifically citing his infrastructure plans, a massive online debate broke out between their members, fueled by the hashtag #NotMyAIA. “I teach architectural ethics and often use Trump as an example of unethical practice. Cooperating with him is morally bankrupt,” said one tweet. Other concerns include his stance on the environment, his lack of inclusiveness and his disinterest in affordable housing.
The Woke Leader
Kayak founder Paul English on living with bipolar disorder
In a poignant and honest video interview, English discusses his diagnosis at 25, and how his hypo-mania allowed him to work long hours, but at a cost. “I’ve done some crazy things when I’m in manic phases,” which can last as long as a year, he said. “I create too many things, I will sometimes detach from people around me,” he says, citing grandiosity. And then there’s the money. “I almost bought this ridiculous lighthouse,” he says. If you are or know someone with bipolar disorder, this one’s for you.
The hidden secrets of Havana
Now that it’s easier to visit Cuba, people are discovering that the island has long had its own rhythm, down to the hand signals that let you signal the “collective taxis” to take you where you want to go. Also, look to the ground for street signs, school uniforms are color-coded, and a stumbling upon a certain statue means you’re outside a government building. But hidden in the secrets are old stories of difficult lives, long cut off from the rest of the world.
A reminder to take care of yourself
On Twitter, @jonnysun is a sweetly confused alien who infuses humor, love, and compassion in every interaction with his more than 215,000 followers. In real life, he’s Jonathan Sun, a PhD candidate at MIT who is the definition of intersectional: researcher, architect, engineer, artist, comedian, and playwright. His use of Twitter is a daily master class in joyful communication. He’s just upped his game: He’s created a self-care Twitter bot that reminds followers to take good care of themselves. Now, look up from your screen and enjoy the world for a minute, okay?