Chabot-Las Positas Community College Board
of Trustees voted Tuesday to declare its
campuses as sanctuaries for students.

After months of sidestepping the issue, the Chabot-Las Positas Community College Board of Trustees approved a pair of resolutions Tuesday declaring a sanctuary campus designation for each college. The board also directed its staff to explore a similar district-wide policy.

Amid a flurry of East Bay jurisdictions choosing to approve sanctuary policies as a bulwark to President Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, Chabot College and Las Positas College students strongly urged board trustees to declare a similar policy, starting in May. It is estimated that 450 undocumented students currently attend Chabot College.

But the board moved slowly with the issue agendized for meetings in October and November. “This bubbled up from the colleges,” noted Board Trustee Edralin Maduli on Tuesday night. “The action before us is very simple, We need to show support to our students.”

Long-time Board Trustee Isobel Dvorsky quietly nodded affirmatively throughout the meeting as a litany of students voiced support for becoming a sanctuary campus. When Dvorsky voiced her official vote, she added, “Yes, because it’s the right thing to do.”

The resolutions call for each college to reject the use of a registry, surveillance or monitoring of students based on religion, national origin, sexual orientation or disability; and targeting individuals based on their suspected undocumented immigrant status.

The college also rejects knowingly cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, and the release of student information related to their immigration status, but excluding cases involving a judicial warrant, subpoena or court order.

However, questions led by Maduli over the legality of one clause calling for the college to consider earmarking “tuition assistance to students whose financial aid is impacted due to undocumented status” eventually leading the board to excise it from the overall resolution.

Although Tuesday night’s board meeting at Chabot College in Hayward was relatively calm, there was a noticeable security presence. Previously meetings also featured numerous security guards in response to a number of passionate public speakers who spoke in favor of a sanctuary campus.

Several students acknowledged the sanctuary campus designation would not solve all their problems since federal agents can still act unilaterally, but the college board’s support–if merely symbolic–sends a strong message to students.

Hayward resident Aisha Wahab said her parents were undocumented immigrants who escaped war in Afghanistan. “The one saving grace I had was education,” she told the board. “We need to hear a vote for sanctuary status is a vote for the American Dream.”

Due to the small size of the Chabot College boardroom, the number of trustees and staff members dwarfed the number of private residents in the audience. A much larger overflow crowd watching on a television monitor outside were greatly appreciative of each public speaker who supported a sanctuary campus. After delivering their remarks, many speakers, upon exiting the boardroom, were greeted with loud cheers.