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Ortt to SUNY: 'No sanctuary campuses'

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Mon, Dec 12th 2016 01:20 pm

Said ignoring federal laws could be devastating for NY students, colleges

New York State Sen. Rob Ortt, R-C-I-North Tonawanda, on Monday called on the State University of New York board of trustees to immediately reject calls to establish "sanctuary campuses" at SUNY schools. In a letter to the board of trustees, Ortt asked the board to focus on its mission of educating students instead of falling into a divisive political issue. In opposing sanctuary campuses, Ortt pointed to the potential loss in federal aid as well as the message it sends to students.

"I would find it extremely difficult to tell a hard-working student, or a working-class family, that they will not realize their dream of attending college, because we lost federal aid when the state decided to make a needless political statement," said Ortt, a member of the New York State Senate Committee on Higher Education. "I worry about the message this would send to college students. This policy would tell students, in their formative years, that their college and their state condones violating the law. I believe that such a message would run contrary to our mission of developing the next generation of citizens. Many campuses are already free from opposing viewpoints; they shouldn't also be free of the rule of law."

Following the results of the presidential election, there has been a movement at private and public institutions to establish sanctuary campuses. The movement calls for campuses to continue components of President Barack Obama's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ahead of - and in spite of - the new president and Congress in 2017.

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