Chancellor responds to sanctuary petition

Pam Shockley-Zalabak
Pam Shockley-Zalabak

In response to a faculty-led petition to declare UCCS a sanctuary space for students who participate in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or ASSET programs, Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak issued a statement Dec. 8.

The petition was shared with Shockley-Zalabak and local news outlets Dec. 8.

Shockley-Zalabak’s Statement:

I am in full agreement about sentiments of support relayed to me by large numbers of faculty and staff who have written about our undocumented students and their education at UCCS.

These students are an important part of the fabric of UCCS. All of these students fully comply with the legal requirements of their DACA and ASSET status (see C.R.S. 23-7-110, codifying SB 13-033 known as the ASSET legislation passed by the Colorado legislature in 2013 and explained by the FAQs found at ).

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and ASSET students meet our admissions standards. Some of the statements in the nationally circulated letter to create sanctuary campuses are not legally possible for public institutions. Constitutional requirements are different for public and private institutions. All that being said, there is much we can and will do. 

We will be developing new communication vehicles to assist DACA students with both current information including support systems and provide information on status changes if any should occur. It is important to note that there are no status changes at this time. I have met with DACA students and discussed their needs. I have issued a statement in support of continued campus inclusiveness. I am confident that discussions at UCCS, and at public and private universities and colleges across the country, will address these student concerns.

An estimated 150 campuses in several states across the country are considering labeling themselves sanctuary campuses amid fears from immigrant students that the DACA program will be changed or discontinued. ASSET is a State of Colorado program that allows undocumented students who meet requirements to pay in-state tuition rates.

5 Comments on Chancellor responds to sanctuary petition

  1. As a proud alumni of UCCS, I am very concerned about the request from some UCCS faculty members to make UCCS a sanctuary campus. While the immigration issue continues to be discussed, I hope the university administrators will remember the rule of law. Undocumented and or illegal immigrants should not be granted any privileges that are in violation of the laws of the United States.

  2. We have a real problem with illegal immigration to the U.S. I believe that we must have immigration laws and they must be enforced and am therefore totally against any type of general amnesty or “sanctuary zones” for illegal aliens. While I can understand the rational for the DACA deferments, it does come with its own problems. I can understand that children were brought here by their paraents at an early age illegally through no fault of their own. So the reasoning goes, they should not be punished for the acts of their parents. While that is true, if DACA children are ever legalized and become citizens (or even with residents cards) they can sponsor their parents for legalization. So in effect, the parents will be rewarded for their illegal acts. But I suppose we are discussing the issue at hand. That being the petition. It seems to me that the petition, from what I read in the news article, refers not so much to DACA students but “undocumented students, (undocumented)staff, (undocumented)workers, their (undocumented) family and friends. I added the word (undocumented) parenthesis for what I feel is clarity. Just what does that sentence mean? It seems pretty broad. When threatened with immigration for being here illegally, can family members move on campus to gain protection from immigration authorities?? I urge the Chancellor Shocklley-Zalabak not to declare UCCS a sanctuary campus. It is just a foot in the door and the petition is way too broad and far exceeds protecting the DACA students. “provide confidential counseling and legal services for undocumented students and others”!!!!!! Really?

  3. This action is direct violation to the laws of the nation you and the staff that support breaking the law should have all support removed and the charter removed as a public university.

  4. Let’s stay out of politics and focus on education for legal immigrants and citizens alike. It is not our place to aid and abet lawbreakers – regardless of the emotions it may stir within us. If you want the law changed, work with our lawmakers to make it so; but for now, we should follow the law. Tax-payer money goes to UCCS. Please follow the wishes of the overwhelming majority who help to fund this campus.

  5. I am relieved that Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak decided to veto the sanctuary petition. It is a total disregard for the laws of this country. What other laws should be dismissed due to hysteria and absence of reason? As a graduate and taxpayer, I am horrified that so many faculty and staff would be in support of anarchy. What does this convey to the young people that they are teaching? I wonder how this will impact future donations to the alumni association.

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