Do ‘Sanctuary, Safe Space Campuses’ Provide a Disservice to Students?

Sanctuary Campus

December 5, 2016 | | — Activism on college campuses has reached new levels not seen since the 1960s. Protests on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus in 2015 could have served as the ringleader to cause other student bodies to rise with defiant voices.

Likely inspired by riots in Ferguson, Mo., orchestrated by Black Lives Matter, and funded by billionaire George Soros, with regularity students and faculty now use institutions as platforms for leftist political engagement.

With great irony, institutions that once allowed for diversity of thought are now more often centers of narrow ideology. Acres upon acres of terrain are used to not only teach, but also lobby against the “isms” of the world, including the ills of capitalism. While the harms of racism and sexism are real, many institutions of higher learning have moved to other extremes.

The latest trendy outrage is the so-called “sanctuary campus” movement. Soros money thought to be financing this endeavor, too.

Following the election of President-Elect Donald Trump, some universities and campuses seek to supersede federal laws providing protections to illegal immigrant students. Some claim Trumps proposal to tighten illegal immigration and do away with the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as the justification.

The University of Mississippi is one such campus.

Recently the Associated Student Body Senators and some student organization presidents called for the university to become a sanctuary for illegal immigrant members of the community. Some 66 teachers, faculty and students signed a document supporting the proposal – that included refusing “ICE physical access to land owned or controlled by the university without a judicial warrant.”

Ole Miss Chancellor Jeff Vitter issued a statement regarding ASB’s resolution on becoming a sanctuary campus.

“As chancellor, my responsibility is to administer and operate the university within applicable Federal and state laws, as well as the policies and procedures established by the Board of Trustees of Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.”

Jeff Vitter

The proposal was never presented for a vote as Ole Miss alumni flooded the university with emails and phone calls expressing their outrage.

In the Lone Star state, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott maintains the state will suspend funding to any state school designates itself as a “sanctuary campus.”

Sanctuary Campus

Princeton’s President Christopher Eisgruber wrote that the concept of the “sanctuary campus” “has no basis in law and that colleges and universities have no authority to exempt any part of their campuses from the nation’s immigration laws.”

In defiance of federal law, some schools have formally passed policies creating sanctuary status.

The Portland State University, University of Pennsylvania, Reed College, Columbia University and Wesleyan University officially declared themselves sanctuary campuses.

In a video produced by, students at George Washington University state they would like to see the school implement sanctuary status.


“Yeah, I think it [campus] should be a safe space for everybody,” replied another, explaining, “I don’t think anybody should be judged.”

Some want to go even further than creating “safe spaces” for illegal immigrants but see student loans forgiven.

“Oh, absolutely,” responded one student, while another agreed, saying, “Yes, that’d be cool.”

Another stated “safe spaces” are needed because for final exams because of the stress of the 2016 election.

“School’s been really stressful especially after the Trump election,” one student vented to “Like, it’s really hard to focus on your studies when there’s so much else going on.”

One has to wonder if universities who create “safe spaces” and “sanctuary campuses” are ultimately doing students a disservice. Living in the “real world” means facing various worldviews and learning how to work with those who may have views different from your own.

It’s time to re-evaluate the “helicopter parent” approach that has created the not so flattering moniker we know as the “snowflake generation.” If this critical problem isn’t fixed soon – we’ll have a century of leaders who melt at the first sign of opposition.


Russ Jones is a 25-year award-winning journalist, correspondent, media analyst, and media consultant. He’s traveled the world on investigative reporting trips and consultant for major political and cause-oriented campaigns. He may be reached at You can follow him on Twitter: @russjones60 and

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