TODAY'S PAPER
Scattered Clouds 55° Good Morning
Scattered Clouds 55° Good Morning
Long IslandSuffolk

SBU marchers add voices to national anti-hate movement

Stony Brook University senior Raven Brown, 20, of

Stony Brook University senior Raven Brown, 20, of Valley Stream carries a sign during a march Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, from the Student Activity Center to the Administration Building. University, faculty and students have created a petition that got more than 650 signatures in two days, asking the administration to declare the campus a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants and others. Photo Credit: Barry Sloan

Dozens of students at Stony Brook University marched across the center of campus Wednesday afternoon, joining a national movement advocating inclusion and denouncing sexism, racism and other forms of discrimination and hate speech.

As many as 75 students gathered to march from the Student Activities Center to the Administration Building — about a five-minute walk — beginning at 1 p.m., during Campus Life time, a period on Wednesday afternoons when classes are not in session.

“It’s a solidarity march to show that we all support each other in light of the recent election result,” said student organizer Raven Brown, 20, of Valley Stream, a senior majoring in psychology.

Brown said campus groups including advocates for women, LGBT, Muslims, immigrants and students with disabilities came together to plan the action.

“Stony Brook is doing a great job. Our faculty and deans were great in reaching out to everyone after the election. Here we feel a sense of security, although there are people who are marginalized and feel somewhat unsafe but not necessarily because of the community at Stony Brook,” Brown said.

Students at more than 80 college and university campuses nationwide were scheduled to participate in similar walkouts or demonstrations. Hundreds of New York University students on Wednesday reportedly walked out of class and into Washington Square Park. A similar event occurred Wednesday at SUNY New Paltz.

The Stony Brook action comes as professors at the Long Island’s largest public university are asking the school’s administration to protect those who may be living here without legal permission and anyone “vulnerable to harassment, discrimination, intimidation, hate speech.”

‘‘As a higher education institution, it is critical to remember that what we do at a public university has never been more important than today,’’ SBU president Samuel L. Stanley said in a statement Wednesday. ‘‘Our mission is grounded in the pursuit of knowledge and access to excellence within a diverse global community.’’

A petition to declare SBU an official sanctuary campus for immigrants in the United States illegally, their families and related community members is circulating on campus. It was gaining momentum as of Wednesday, with more than 650 signatures in two days.

The faculty — and student-led — movement is one of several that have cropped up after the contentious presidential election and a recent reported uptick in the number of politically charged conflicts and bullying.

In the days after the election of the Republican nominee Donald Trump, smaller-scale student protests had occurred on the Hofstra University campus in Hempstead and on the Suffolk County Community College campus in Selden.

“All we are asking is the university’s administration uphold their commitment to creating a safe space where students, faculty and staff are free from intimidation, harassment and hate speech,” said Lori Flores, an SBU history professor who is among those leading the initiative. Flores said once there are 1,000 signatures the petition will be delivered to Stanley’s office.

“I think it is important for us to do this because Stony Brook University is one of the most diverse campuses in the nation. Especially in the last few years, we have seen a student body that reflects the country and undocumented students are a part of that.”

Flores, who teaches American history with an emphasis on the Latino experience, said faculty members over the last week have shared various reports of bullying and intimidation on campus in the days after the election. The data is anecdotal and is mostly shared via faculty emails. There is no definitive way to know whether all of the incidents are linked to the election or its results, she said.

But it was enough for some professors to be concerned.

“That’s what has made faculty want to support anybody who is made vulnerable in the wake of the election,” Flores said.

University spokeswoman Lauren Sheprow said there have been no formal reports of bullying or intimidation on campus after the election.

There is no official count of immigrant students without legal permission to be in the United States at Stony Brook University. The faculty are asking for the university’s administration to limit its cooperation with federal immigration authorities, including a guarantee of student privacy by refusing to release immigration information in the event of a deportation raid.

The national sanctuary campus movement, largely promoted via social media, has evolved to also include racial minorities and LGBT students. More than a dozen such petitions exist on U.S. college campuses, according to Inside Higher Ed, a trade publication that covers postsecondary institutions, including public and private colleges and universities.

Trump has vowed to repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA. Under the policy, announced in 2012, certain immigrants who entered the country before their 16th birthday and before June 2007 are able to receive a renewable two-year work permit and exemption from deportation. Through DACA, more than 700,000 immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children have obtained temporary relief from deportation.

Flores said she knows of some students at SBU who are protected under DACA.

Latest Long Island News

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to Newsday is free for Optimum customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE