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Swarthmore Board Pledges Sanctuary for Undocumented Students, All Community Members

Fall foliage on the campus of Swarthmore College


Chair of the Board of Managers Thomas E. Spock '78 and President Valerie Smith shared the following in a community message earlier today:


Dear Members of the Swarthmore Community,

The Board of Managers and Administration of Swarthmore College stand firm in our commitment to protect and provide sanctuary for all members of our community who may need such protection in the coming months and years, including our undocumented students.

Swarthmore has a proud history of commitment to social justice, civil liberties, diversity, and the protection and inclusion of groups subjected to acts that threaten their freedom and safety. Our Quaker heritage provides us with a long tradition of non-violent action and peaceful protest against repressive government acts and mandates. We have supported women's suffrage, equal rights, conscientious objectors, free speech, academic freedom, and the ability of students to pursue their education without government interference.

At this moment, when there is a rising national rhetoric of intolerance and acts of hate that threaten people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ individuals, Jews, women, and immigrants, among others, we affirm our protection of these groups, and we affirm our intention to support all students in their quest to pursue their education without government interference.

Nearly 2,000 members of our community have asked that Swarthmore become a sanctuary campus. We wholeheartedly pledge to do so. This means that to the fullest extent of the law:

  • The College will not voluntarily share student information with immigration enforcement officials;
  • The College will not voluntarily grant access to College property to immigration enforcement officials;
  • The College will not support the enforcement actions of immigration officials on campus. Public Safety will continue to refrain from inquiring about or recording the immigration status of community members; 
  • The College is not enrolled in “e-verify" and will not do so; and 
  • The College does not make housing decisions based on immigration status and will not do so. 

The College will do everything within its power to promote the safety of any member of our community who may face heightened threat. 

Furthermore, President Smith will immediately convene a working group of students, faculty, and staff that will both respond to the evolving needs of undocumented members of our community and others and address, in greater detail, the additional recommendations that students and faculty have already presented.  

Swarthmore College supports the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and urges its continuation in the next administration. Accordingly, we reaffirm our commitment to ensure that undocumented and DACA students continue to be admitted without regard to their financial status and continue to have full access to financial aid.

We are proud to add our voice to those rising around the country to protect social justice, mutual respect and tolerance, and the basic principles upon which this country was founded.


Thomas E. Spock '78,
Chair, Board of Managers, and

Valerie Smith,

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