CHICAGO – Roosevelt University has launched a self-described safe space campaign that includes posting “symbolic” signs across its urban and suburban campuses stating “Inclusion Has No Borders” in response to President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.
The university’s newly formed Outreach, Advocacy, Social Justice, Information and Safety (OASIS) Committee announced the campaign last week. The effort includes posting the “Inclusion Has No Borders” signage around the university, which has campuses in Chicago and nearby Schaumburg, Illinois.
Students, faculty and staff have been encouraged to post the signs on campus and use the hashtag “#YouAreWelcomeHere” on their social media accounts.
— Luke Bandoske (@luke_bandoske) March 16, 2017
The OASIS committee, the campaign’s sponsor, was created at the behest of Roosevelt University President Ali Malekzadeh. Dawn Hougland, assistant director for international programs, told The College Fix the campus group formed at Malekzadeh’s request in response to “things we were seeing coming out of the Trump administration immigration-wise.”
Hougland made her comments on Monday while she tabled for the safe space campaign at the Chicago campus with the university’s baseball coach, Steve Marchi.
Marchi, co-chair of OASIS, said the group aims to reaffirm the commitment to social justice at the university, which is named after President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
“We started this group to let students know that we’re here for them,” he said.
The committee has about 20 faculty, administration, students and staff members and is “charged in part with reviewing and responding to immigration issues as they relate to higher education,” according to a university statement.
The university’s associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students, Sharron Evans, said the newly launched campaign is representative of the university’s safe space mentality.
“While all of Roosevelt University is a ‘safe space,’ the signs are a symbolic way for members of our community to show solidarity with anyone on campus who may have issues or concerns about changing federal policies on immigration and other topics,” Evans said in a press release.
In addition to the signage, Marchi and Hougland said the campaign focuses on identifying resources for students affected by immigration policies.
An informational sheet handed out on campus refers students to the National Immigrant Justice Center, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the ACLU, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and NAFSA: Association of International Educators.
The campaign may also include additional programming, such as panel discussions at some point during the spring semester.
“We’re really just starting,” Marchi said.
Hougland suggested current events will dictate how the campaign moves forward.
“Part of what we’re working with depends on what’s going on domestically and internationally. Part of the campaign depends on what kind of support students need,” she said.