More than 30 people gathered at UMass Amherst Friday as part of an event called Student Strike for Sanctuary. Students had been encouraged to skip classes and instead learn about something else. Ph.D. Candidate Anna-Claire Steffen helped organize the effort.
“It’s sort of learning how to, as a community, empower each individual to come together to help intervene when it comes to something like an I.C.E. raid or how to protect people or how to help sort of actually embody a sanctuary community,” Steffen said.
The group is also calling on UMass Amherst to declare itself a sanctuary campus, meaning it would not assist the federal government with efforts to deport unauthorized immigrants.
A university spokesman said while UMass shares the protesters’ concerns, declaring it a sanctuary campus is not in the best interests of the school because the term has no legal definition and could jeopardize federal funding.