Emerson as a Sanctuary, Emerson as home

Below is a copy of the letter the SGA sent to President Pelton, voicing our support for the College to support undocumented and DACAmented students in a way that is concrete, rather than just symbolic.

28 January 2017
M. Lee Pelton
Office of the President
120 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116

President Pelton:

With a petition advocating for Emerson to declare itself a Sanctuary Campus and a DREAM School circulating social media, and given the Faculty Assembly’s vote at their last meeting of the semester, the Student Government Association made this the topic our first main agenda item of the semester. On Tuesday, January 24, the SGA invited representatives from Emerson UNITE—Understanding National Immigration Through Education—to speak about the issues undocumented students face both at Emerson and in the greater local community. Ultimately, the SGA voted unanimously in support of Emerson declaring itself a Sanctuary and DREAM Campus.

The SGA does not presume to write policy on behalf of the college, but we do hope that the administration—given the combined official support from students, and faculty—gives serious consideration to adopting the provisions outlined by the petition to make Emerson a Sanctuary Campus and remain a DREAM School regardless of the actions of the current White House administration. If Mayor Marty Walsh can vow to use “City Hall itself” as a means of protecting Bostonians, we believe Emerson can and must make strides to provide the same protections to its community—students and employees alike.

We also feel it important to acknowledge that the College already goes to great lengths to provide accessible resources to help undocumented students attend Emerson. This is a policy we fully support, and so we believe this is a practice that ought to be publicized. We are asking that the College openly support all of its students and staff: undocumented or otherwise, current or prospective. We are asking the College to be an example for other institutions; to stand up for what is right rather than what is easy. We recognize this could put the College in uncertain circumstances, but we find it urgent and necessary to address current and pressing political issues directly affecting the Emerson community. Multiple executive orders signed this week tell us we cannot proceed as normal; we cannot ignore that the basic liberties and freedoms of current students are at stake.

There are many hard choices ahead. The SGA voted with the mindset that to vote against supporting this measure—regardless of its repercussions— would be to reject the values of Emerson College: diversity and inclusion, respect and responsibility. If in the future we look back on this moment to ask ourselves what we stood for, let this be one of those things.

Where the College goes from here is on the shoulders of the administration. The purpose of this letter is to make the position of the SGA clear and unequivocal and to implore the College to consult those directly impacted by this decision and the policies that go along with it. It is imperative that affected students are heard, whether by consulting Emerson UNITE as a group or contacting undocumented and DACAmented students directly.

We understand that not every student in the Emerson community may support our stance. However, the SGA would be doing the community a disservice if we did not serve all students, as we are tasked. In doing so we can foster a more diverse, and subsequently stronger, student body. We believe that Emerson College can and should be a leader in this regard. We are the next generation of media makers, communicators, and storytellers; to leave members of our community vulnerable is to risk losing important voices, which only stands to weaken us all.

Our very best,



Emily Solomon ‘17
Executive President

Gabriela Kula ‘17
Executive Vice-President

John D. Depa ‘17
Executive Treasurer

Ally MacLean ‘19
Chief Justice

Raz Moayed ‘20
Executive Assistant

Lizzie Northey ‘19
Executive Secretary

Lauren Granada ‘20
Executive Vice Treasurer

Michael O’Connor ‘17
Class of 2017 President

Spencer Wright ‘20
Class of 2020 President

Kristen Mitchell ‘20
Class of 2020 Senator

Jessica Guida ‘19
Class of 2019 President

Brandon Kaplan ‘19
Class of 2019 Senator

Annie Makielski ‘18
Class of 2018 President

Arianna Conte ‘18
Class of 2018 Senator

Patricia de la Garza ‘18
Performing Arts Senator

Lucie McCormick ‘17
VMA Senator

Isabel Macomber ‘17
Writing, Literature & Publishing Senator

Rahul Thayil ‘18
Communication Studies Senator

Reilly Loynd '19
Service Learning Commissioner

Dylan Walton ‘18
On-Campus Commissioner

Sofía Alvarado Mendoza ‘18
International Student Commissioner

Emily Schnider ‘18
Disabilities and
Accessibilities Commissioner

Gregory Massimino Garcia ‘18
Communication Sciences and Disorders Senator

Emily Soemita ‘19
Marketing Communications Senator