Schools like University of Michigan and (my alma mater) Kalamazoo College have responded to the recent, heinous executive actions by releasing statements that affirm their refusal to release their students’ immigration status. It probably won’t be too long before we learn how committed they really are.
The two statements are commendable. They assure students that diverse, inclusive campuses are vital to the institution’s core values, reiterate support for DACA, and openly refuse to provide student records to government agencies unless required by law. But if the last four words of the preceding sentence leave you a little concerned, you’re not alone. Just because something is legal does not mean that it’s ethical, and if universities really are committed to protecting their students, they may have to choose between being on the right side of history and the right side of the law.
I could be fretting about nothing. I hope I’m fretting about nothing. And I think that the sentiments expressed in the statements are pretty genuine. But if it comes time to make a stand, who will make that decision? What will their priorities be? And, either way, how can they be held accountable?
Those weren’t just rhetorical questions, so if you have any thoughts about the meeting point of college bureaucracy and unjust laws, let us know in the comments.