Make Emerson College a #SanctuaryCampus and a DREAM School

President M. Lee Pelton

If we are not prepared to resist, a Trump Presidency could devastate many of our communities. All students must unite to expose and actively resist Trump's enforcement regime.

We are fighting to make our campus a #SanctuaryCampus and are part of the movement to establish public spaces of resistance and protection for our country's most vulnerable people - including undocumented immigrants, Muslims, Black people, Queer people, and all people of color.

We are hurting and we are angry. But we will show this country and the world that we are resilient and that we will continue to resist.

The future is not yet written, and our communities need hope. And for people to feel hope and believe in a better future and a just America, they must see it on the streets, in demonstrations, and on the news. They must hear countless stories of resilience.

In the November faculty assembly meeting, the full-time faculty overwhelmingly voted to declare Emerson a sanctuary campus for undocumented immigrants. But declaring a sanctuary campus is more than a symbolic gesture. Emerson needs to take concrete steps to implement immediate policy changes in order to become a sanctuary campus. Students, Staff, faculty, and alumni will actively advocate for these actions to be taken until the College makes commitments to implement these important changes.

Join the #SanctuaryCampus movement and pave the way for this resistance.

Sponsored by

To: President M. Lee Pelton
From: [Your Name]

Over the past several weeks, the result of our presidential election has weighed heavy on the hearts of the marginalized people the president-elect, Donald J. Trump, has directly and repeatedly ostracized — sexual assault survivors and those belonging to Muslim, African American, Latinx, LGBTQ, and undocumented communities to name a few. As a college community, it is our responsibility to assess and act upon the gravity of this national moment and what it means for the course of history, social justice, and the real day-to-day lives of those who live in uncertainty.

Throughout his campaign, the president-elect has promised to “immediately terminate” Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) within his first 100 days in office ( In November, you signed a statement of support in order to “raise awareness for DACA,” and urging federal leaders to meet with the signatories to “present our case” on the continuation and expansion of the DACA program. While we appreciate your sentiment in signing this statement in support of DACA, it lacks specificity and does not concretely address the direct threats that the president-elect has made against these “exemplary student scholars and student leaders, working across campus and in the community.”

The time has passed for discussion and friendly conversation with the president-elect, and for symbolic gestures and statements of support. Within 10 days following the election, the Southern Poverty Law Center had documented 867 hate crimes, with university campuses and schools being the most common settings of attacks against marginalized groups (

This kind of violence undermines the objectives of colleges and universities, including Emerson’s mission to promote civic engagement, encourage ethical practices and academic excellence, foster respect for human diversity, and inspire communication grounded in clarity, integrity, and conviction. Engaged student learning and teaching excellence, innovation, and intercultural competence in an increasingly global world are not fostered by a climate of fear. If these are truly our values, the president-elect’s blatant bigotry, discrimination, and calls for violence have no place in our college community. Now is the time for action. Now is our responsibility to enact Emersonian values of ethical engagement and moral courage and to publicly declare Emerson College a Sanctuary Campus and a DREAM School.

It is urgent for the College to take concrete action in order to ensure that our friends and family on Emerson’s campus and in all external programs are not negatively impacted by this presidency, and to ensure that if they are, the school is prepared to actively support those who are harmed. As students, staff, faculty, and alumni of Emerson College, in addition to supporting the continuation and expansion of DACA, we urge you to affirmatively stand with immigrants who study, live, and work at the College and in its affiliated programs by adopting a public, written policy communicating the the following protections:

1. The College refuses to release information regarding the immigration status of our students and workers (both directly employed and subcontracted) and their families, and refuses to comply with immigration authorities regarding deportation or raids, including physical access to all land owned or controlled by the College.

2. The College prohibits campus police and security from inquiring about or recording an individual’s immigration status or enforcing immigration laws or participating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in actions harming our community members.

3. The College is a DREAM school that supports undocumented and DACA students’ equal access to financial aid and scholarships, and will support the ability of qualified immigrant students to enroll and sustain their attendance, including doing everything within our power to use institutional funds and scholarships to fill any gap created by discriminatory laws that exclude immigrant students from accessing ordinary financial aid and scholarships on equal footing with other students.

4. The College guarantees specific scholarships for students who were previously DACA recipients, if/when DACA is terminated, and therefore will remain a DREAM school.

5. The College does not use e-verify.

6. The College prohibits housing discrimination based on immigration status.

7. The College commits to providing accessible, holistic support to community members impacted by power-based interpersonal violence, and members of marginalized communities who are negatively impacted by the rhetoric and actions surrounding the election, while strengthening prevention efforts to actively reduce violence and the culture that supports it.

8. The College commits to ensuring that all students receive a campus, classroom, and community experience free of hostilities, aggressions, and bullying by strengthening efforts to create a campus culture of intercultural fluency, equity, and inclusion. The College will continue the campus-wide anonymous bias incident reporting system, and ensure that students, staff, and faculty are educated in de-escalation intervention techniques in the event that a bias incident occurs.

9. The College will not retaliate against any worker, directly employed or subcontracted, who chooses to take part in a general strike in solidarity with undocumented workers.

10. The College commits to ongoing dialogue with the students, staff, faculty, and alumni about additions to the college policy and support for community efforts that protect immigrants who study, live, and work at the College and their families and the community.

11. This policy is enforced by all Emerson staff, affiliates, and all contractors and subcontractors and their employees working on property owned or controlled by the College.

Given the urgency of the situation, we demand that Emerson College takes these concrete steps immediately before the president-elect has an opportunity to target our community. In the November faculty assembly meeting, the full-time faculty overwhelmingly voted to declare Emerson a sanctuary campus for undocumented immigrants. Prominent local politicians, including Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson, Attorney General Maura Healey, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone of Somerville, and Mayor Martin J. Walsh of Boston, have already taken concrete actions to create protections or full sanctuary for undocumented immigrants. We look forward to Emerson following suit and taking the steps necessary to become a sanctuary campus immediately. Students, Staff, faculty, and alumni will actively advocate for these actions to be taken until the College makes commitments to implement these changes.

Emerson cannot be silent. You told us in November that “we cannot be mere spectators, you must instead stand for something.” We ask you: What does Emerson stand for? In order to be educated to virtue, we need educators willing to take a stand for us. We need your leadership now more than ever. Taking these actions would make Emerson the first higher education institution in Boston to take a formal moral stand for the undocumented members of our community. Stand with us.


AJ Tierney, Comedic Arts '20
Adele Ngoy, parent
Adrianna Lankford, Film Production '17
Ahmed Ouldzenagui, '19
Aiden Dobens, '17
Alejandra Ruiz, Theatre and Performance '20
Alex Hanscom, Theatre Studies: Acting
Alex Johnson, '17
Alexa Harrington, '20
Alexander LaPlante, Musical Theatre '20
Alexandra Vasallo, VMA '20
Alexandria Martinez, VMA
Alice Yuan, Communication Studies '18
Alice Airoldi
Alison Michalak, WLP '20
Aliyah Browne, '19
AlizaRoss, Theatre Ed '09
Amanda Canny, alum
Amanda Kyed, MA '10
Amanda Saunders, '17
Amelia Semprebon, Communication Studies '18
Amelia Stafford, '17
Amy Rudy, parent
Anagita Padmanabhan, '18
Anapurl Feldman, WLP '18
Anastasia Phalen, '19
Andi Keyes, VMA '17
Andrea Gordillo, BA Theatre Studies '14
Andrew Sianez-De La O, Performing Arts
Andrew Stanton, '20
Angel Perez, VMA '19
Angela Haas, WLP '20
Angelika Romero, alum '15
Anna Marketti, '17
Anne Marie Jubinal, alumna
Anneliese du Boulay, '17
Annie Hinh, WLP '20
Annika Fagerholm
Annika Hom, Journalism
Anthony Beven, Theatre Design/Technology '20
Antonio Weathers, WLP
Ariela Rudy Zaltzman, '18
Art Parnitudom, '17
Ashley Dunn, '18
Ashley Lessa, WLP
Ashley Tarbet DeStefano, staff and alum '09
Avery Higham, '20
Avery Richardson, '16
Avrumie Tornheim, Musical Theatre BFA '20
Ayo Xavier, '20
Bailey Bouchard
Becca Chairin, VMA Film Production '17
Benjamin Bradley-Gilbert, '19
Benjamin Nadler, VMA '20
Benjamin Schifano, VMA '19
Brad Beideman, '16
Brittany Korn, '18
Caelan Webb, '16
Caitlin Brown, Media Art MFA '19
Cal Laird, '17
Cameron Raser, '20
Camille Mumford, Political Communication '20
Cara DuBois, WLP '17
Carl Lavigne, '17
Carly Wickham, Journalism '18
Carolina Gutierrez, '17
Caroline Rodriguez, '20
Casey MacPhail, VMA '17
Casey Marazita, Performing Arts '20
Cassidy Vogel, VMA '17
Cassie Epstein, Political Communication
Catherine D'Ignazio, Assistant Professor
Cathryn Edelstein, Communication Studies
Celine Garcia, Journalism '20
Chantelle Bacigalupo, '17
Cheukling Cheng, Journalism '20
Christie "CJ" West, IDIP '18
Christine Jones, WLP
Christine Vapsva, '20
Cierra DeVos, Political Communication '20
Connor Gallant, student
Connor Mcninch, '20
Corey Popowski, VMA '18
Cornelia Tzana, '17
Courtney Accocella, VMA Production '17
Courtney Quinlan, '19
Daniel Gonzalez, '18
Danielle Finelli, '20
Daysia Tolentino, '20
Deedee Elbieh, '18
Delilah Kaufman, alum '16
Derek Demkowicz, '18
Diana Patino, '19
Dil Evren, '19
Dorcas Thete, '18
Dylan Blank, '18
Dylan Walton, Political Communication '18
Elizabeth Deonarain, Documentary Production '18
Elizabeth Ji, '20
Elizabeth McDowell, Performing Arts '18
Ellen Rothfuss, CSD '17
Elmer Martinez, '19
Emily Carroll, '20
Emily Greene, '17
Emily Hagopian, '19
Emily Hillebrand, WLP '18
Emily Schnider, Marketing Communications
Emily Tully, '18
Emily Walborn, VMA '18
Emily Lautch, '18
Emma Cox, '20
Emma Craine, Journalism
Emma Glassman-Hughes, IDIP '17
Emma Meyerson, Theatre and Performance BFA
Emma Trujillo, WLP '20
Erika Rydberg, alum '08
Erin Goodyear, alum '15
Erin Graham, '19
Erin Taylor, alum '05
Estelle Ticktin, staff
Evan McKenna, WLP '17
Evelyn Hernandez, '20
Fatima Malo Torres Trueba, VMA '19
Gabriela Kula, Journalism '17
Gabrielle Engel, '20
Gabrielle Martin, '20
Gemma Guerrazzi, Communications '19
Goldy Levy, WLP '16
Grace Madigan, '20
Greta Spoering, staff
Gus Hlavacek, '20
Gustavo Brito, Musical Theatre '20
Hanna Gootee, '20
Hanna Schwinn, VMA '19
Hannah Carpenter, VMA '17
Hannah Kane, alum '04
Hannah Riffe, Theatre Studies: Acting '19
Hayley Broderick, '20
Hayley Scanlon, VMA '19
Hazel Bosland, '20
Heather May, Communication Studies
Holly Sloane, alum '16
Ilina Ghosh, VMA '19
Illona Yukhayev, Instructional Technology Group
Ilse Damkoehler, Internationalization and Global Engagement
Isabel Macomber, WLP '17
Isabella Gordillo, Political Communication '15
Issel Solano, student
Jack Ganley, VMA '17
Jackie Burke '19
Jacob Nakshian, VMA
Jake Grossman, VMA '17
Jake Smerechniak, '17
James Gray, Marketing Communication '17
James Kwon, Journalist
James O'connell, '18
Jared Brush, '19
Jasmine Williams, student
Jeeyoon Kim, alum '13
Jenn Stevens, Instructional Technology Group
Jenna Cirbo, Marketing Communication
Jenna Tucker, WLP '08
Jessica Morris, WLP '19
Jessica Shotorbani
Jessica Ganon, WLP '09
Jim Delaney, alum '91 and VMA staff
Joel Jean-Louis, staff
Joelle Herbert, '20
Joey Teodosio, WLP '18
John Rodgers, VMA '20
John-Albert Moseley, VMA staff
Jonah Connally, VMA '20
Jordan Wold, VMA '18
José Antonio Rami­rez Barcelo
Jose Cabrera, '20
Joseph Green, VMA '19
Joseph Salas, VMA '19
Joshua Erskine, '20
Josie Snider, '16
Julia Getz, '19
Julia Gutierrez, Film Production '17
Julia Saukkonen, VMA '19
Julianna Sy, '19
Julie Moskowitz, '19
Julio Villegas, '19
Justice Harrison, '19
Justina Huddleston, WLP '09
Kai Grayson, VMA '17
Karin Yehoudian, '18
Kate Bartel, '17
Kate Greenlese
Kate Robitaille, WLP '05
Katharine Johnson, Performing Arts: Acting '18
Katherine Shaver, Performing Arts: Acting
Katie Conway, student
Katja Vujic, WLP '18
Katya Katsnelson, Marketing '19
Kayla Griffin, WLP '18
Kelly Hills, VA '18
Kelsey Rootenberg, Theater and Performance '20
Kendall Wilmot, VMA '18
Kennedy Saaristo, WLP '19
Kevin Berk, VMA '20
Kevin Milton, Journalism
Khyati Sehgal, BFA Acting '18
Kianna Maynard, VMA '19
Kimberly Wilborn, '19
Kira Venturini, 19
Kirsten Lyons, alum '16
Kristen Golden, Communication Studies '09
Kristen West, Psychology
Kyra Power, VMA '19
Laura Londoño, Communication Studies '18
Lauren Lewis, Marketing '17
Lauren Lopez, WLP '18
Lauren Robbins, WLP '08
Lauren Holt, Journalism '17
Lenny Alcid, '17
Lia Brouillard, alum '16
Liam Gibbons, '19
Lily Marella, '20
Lucille McCormick, VMA '17
Madeline Logan, '19
Madison Gallup, '17
Madison Martino, '19
Mairead Hadley, WLP '17
Malachi McDonald, '19
Maria DiPasquale, WLP '16
Maria Montoya, parent
Marian Venturini, parent
Marina Hart, WLP '18
Marissa Campbell, Theatre Ed '01
Mark Meneses, ally
Marla Soucy, alum
Marshall Tate, WMA '19
Mary Baker, WLP '17
Massiel Torres, WLP '17
Matthew Enriquez
Matthias Kelley, '18
Max Kolomatsky, '20
Maya Gandara, WLP '18
Maya Pontone, Journalism '20
Megan Jensen, WLP '17
Megan Stewart, VMA '20
Melanie Matson, Diversity and Inclusion and VPR
Melissa Barletta, '19
Melissa Gittelman, alum '09
Meredith Nestor, VMA '19
Michael Francis, alum '09
Michael O'Connor, VMA '17
Michael Vinci, student
Michael Vitz-Wong, '17
Michelle Krigsfeld, '17
Miranda Banks, Associate Professor, VMA and Emerson Engagement Lab
Miranda Mason, WLP '18
Mneesha Gellman, Institute for Liberal Arts and Interdisciplinary Studies
Monica Meneses, '20
Nancy Allen, faculty
Nancy Howell, staff and alum, MA '03
Naomi Petrovsky, alum '15
Nastassja Chan, '20
Natalia Meneses, '16
Natalie DeCicco, '19
Natalie Shoultz, Political Communication
Nathaniel Charles, VMA '17
Nicholas Shannon, Performing Arts '17
Nicole Cutinella, VMA '18
Nikolai Tarsinov, VMA '19
Nina Ortiz, Marketing '17
Noah Arnold, '19
Noah G., '19
Nolan Megna, '18
Nydia Hartono, VMA '17
Olivia Gerasole, '20
Owen Elphick, WLP '20
Paige Niler, Marketing '17
Patricia De La Garza, BFA Acting '18
Paul Sperry-Fromm, Political Communication '17
Pepa Konarski, '17
Peter Saudino, '20
Phillip Jones, VMA '17
Phuoc Ho, Communication Studies
Rachel Baltz, BFA Creative Writing
Rachel Gallagher, BFA Acting '18
Rachel Gaudet, VMA '20
Rachel Halilej, '17
Rachel Levin, VMA '20
Rachel Turner, BFA Theatre and Performance '20
Raz Moayed, VMA '20
Rebecca Johnson, VMA '20
Richard Wheelock, WLP '17
Richelle Devereaux-Murray, staff and alum '00
Robert Amelio, '79
Robert Wieder, '19
Roberto Williams, BFA Theatre Performance
Robin Riley Fast, Associate Professor WLP
Ryan Leveillee, student
Ryan Bergeron, VMA
Ryder Gering, Communication Studies
Sabrina Combs, VMA '18
Sahil Patel
Saksham Gumber, '19
Sam Goodman, VMA
Sam Solomon, VMA '18
Samantha Jokela, BCE '20
Samantha Kelley, Marketing '19
Samantha Schechter, '20
Samantha Viotty, CMAP '17
Samantha Yates, '20
Sandra Bustamante, VMA '19
Sara Carballo, Political Communication/WLP '11
Sara Levenstein, VMA '20
Sarah Cadorette, graduate student
Sarah Fristoe, '20
Sarah Heatwole, WLP '17
Sarah Marcantonio, WLP '17
Sarah McAllister, Communications Studies '20
Sarah Nee, '20
Sarah Vincent, WLP '20
Sasha Tahergorabi, VMA
Serina Bailiff Curtis, VMA '19
Shaccera Jones, WLP '17
Shadin Al-Dossari, WLP '18
Sheba Wood, Theatre Education
Sherry Jiang, '19
Shufan Ren, '20
Sonya Rio-Glick
Sophie Calhoun, '17
Sosanna Dunphy, '20
Spencer Wright, VMA '20
Stephanie Galvin, CSD '19
Stephanie Houten, ProArts student
Sue Levin, parent
Susan Fullman Kaufman, '16
Sydney Chin, VMA '19
Tallulah Jones, Marketing '19
Tamera Marko, Writing Literature and Publishing
Tatiana Melendez, '20
Tatiana Montalvo, WLP '20
Taylor Carlington, '18
Taylor Roberts, '18
Ted Hubish, VMA '18
Tess Varga, WLP
Thomas Doelger, '18
Thomas Steele, VMA '19
Tim Dailey, Marketing '18
Timothee Courouble, Theatre Education '19
Trevor Howell, VMA '18
Tylah Silva, '17
Tyler Yassky
Vasantha Sambamurti, WLP '20
Victoria Brancazio, Acting '18
Victoria Graf, VMA '19
Victoria Stuewe, '20
Vivien Liu, '19
Walker Floyd, Film
Wendy Walters, WLP
Willie Burnley Jr, WLP
Wmily Ulrich, WLP '19
Xia Rondeau, student
Yara Alathel, Communication Studies
Yuhao Cheng, '19
Zachary McCarthy, '20
Zilin Zhong
Zoë Gadegbeku, Creative Writing MFA
Anonymous, '19
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