On May 9th, The Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC) Board of Education unanimously voted to join a growing list of colleges and the State of Oregon in adopting sanctuary status in light of concerns regarding federal immigration policies. This was a surprising turn of events that played over two months of public comments. At the latest board meeting covering this issue, over 40 students presented testimonials about what sanctuary status would mean to them and their academic goals. The Board was moved by the thoughtfulness and size of students sharing their concerns.
“I’ve been touched by the testimony of so many people over the past few months,” said board member Stu Watson, who brought the successful motion declaring sanctuary. “Obviously there are concerns, and it’s going to be played out in the courts. Yet at the end of the day it’s up to us to take sides” (CGCC, 2017).
Initially, the Board was not in favor of sanctuary status as it might affect federal funding such as Pell Grants. But this resolution doesn’t affect existing policy, and the Board doesn’t expect the vote to have an impact on federal funding.
The Board’s vote aligns with efforts of CGCC to implement Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) programs. CGCC is one of the few Oregon colleges designated as an HSI by HACU. As CGCC strives to implement new policies and strategies through this initiative, the library continues to revamp collections and services by building on a Hispanic and Latinx program begun several years ago. By continuing to build resources and realigning information literacy instruction, we strive to increase our impact on the CGCC campus, community, and student’s academic and life-long learning success.
Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC). (2017). College Board approves sanctuary designation. Retrieved from https://www.cgcc.edu/news/college-board-approves-sanctuary-designation