Members of the Duke and Durham community met at the steps of the Chapel Tuesday to protest President Donald Trump’s recent executive order regarding immigration.
During the protest, several students, faculty members and local residents spoke about their experiences with Islamophobia, refugees and the Trump administration. Danielle Purifoy, a graduate student in the Nicholas School of the Environment, noted that in her opinion, the University has a responsibility to students who may be impacted by the order.
“Duke University knows and has benefited from this country's [immigration] policies. It is a world class university because of brown, black, Muslim, refugee, Latino and undocumented minds," she said. “Duke has an obligation to protect the members of this community and to work to protect their larger communities here and elsewhere.”
Among the steps Duke could take are subsidizing legal fees for cases involving the executive order, protecting student residency records and establishing itself as a sanctuary campus, Purifoy suggested.
Sophomore Sydney Roberts, one of the event's organizers and also a member of The Chronicle's editorial board, said Duke needs to be a sanctuary campus. President Richard Brodhead previously wrote in an email to the Duke community that the term "sanctuary campus" has "no basis in the law," but reiterated after Trump's executive order that the University "cannot and will not share confidential student records with law enforcement agencies" without a subpoena.
"Words alone are not going to protect our classmates, our TA’s, our professors, our friends and our family," Roberts said at the protest. "We need a Duke that truly makes a stand for its students by providing financial means for those that are affected by this violent and immoral executive order."
Representatives from the group Duke University as Sanctuary also emphasized their support for University action, comparing Duke to other schools like the University of Pennsylvania—which, according to a message from Penn President Amy Gutmann, is providing those affected with "legal counsel and other resources."
"What we are asking for today is that the University take legal, explicit action to support the students here," a member of the group said.
The speakers also touched on what they consider to be larger issues with the Trump administration, including Trump’s plan to build a border wall between the United States and Mexico.
"Walls are the opposite of problem solving. Walls between countries are all about cutting off dialogue when we most need it,” said Charles Thompson, professor of the practice in the department of cultural anthropology. “Commit yourselves to building bridges. We want this campus to extend a bridge to other cultures—that is why we are here.”
Abigail Xie contributed reporting.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our editorially curated, weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.