Representing nearly a quarter of all faculty members on campus, 76 professors have called upon University President Michael Roth and the Board of Trustees to take further steps to ensure that Wesleyan become a sanctuary campus for students without United States citizenship. In a Nov. 28 letter, the cohort—which also included a librarian and a Mellon post-doctoral fellow—proposed eight additional recommendations to South College and The Board after Roth declared the University a sanctuary campus in a blog post on Nov. 20.

This letter comes after Roth’s declaration received praise from some, such as the Editorial Board of the Hartford Courant, while being met with criticism from others, such as newly promoted Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who debated Roth on the subject in a primetime Fox News broadcast on Tuesday, Nov. 22.

The faculty letter began by praising Roth’s declaration before calling for further action.

“We applaud and support President Roth’s decision to ‘declare that Wesleyan University is a sanctuary campus’ (blog post, November 20, 2016). But the vital work of becoming a sanctuary campus, and making such a campus a living, welcoming and safe community, must not end there,” the letter reads. “Becoming a true sanctuary campus must be an ongoing and communal project and we urge every member of the Wesleyan community to contribute toward a collective effort to make our campus a place where international and undocumented students, faculty, and staff receive legal, physical, and emotional support.”

The recommendations include actively safeguarding students from federal deportation efforts, in addition to providing them with legal, financial, and emotional resources. A public declaration of refusal to comply with federal authorities is also included, going beyond Roth’s wording of not “voluntarily assist[ing]” federal authorities in deportations.

Another proposal calls for the hiring of an immigration specialist on campus.

“That the University hire a full-time director, preferably a person of color, with expertise in immigration law and services, to create and lead an undocumented persons program that will offer, at a minimum: safe spaces across the campus where those who feel threatened can seek refuge and protection; free access to legal counsel and funds to assist undocumented students, their family members, and faculty and staff’; and information and support for medical and mental health concerns,” the letter reads.

In solidarity with the greater Middletown community, the faculty cosigners also call for the University to help the City of Middletown become a sanctuary city, and that its public schools become sanctuary schools.


The letter was signed by:

1. Richie Adelstein, Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics

2. Jane Alden, Associate Professor of Music

3. Calvin Anderson, Visiting Assistant Professor of Theater

4. Hyejoo Back, Visiting Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies

5. Noah Baerman, Jazz Ensemble Coach

6. Martin Baeumel, Visiting Assistant Professor of German

7. Jonathan Best, Professor of East Asian Art History, Emeritus

8. Peggy Carey Best, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology

9. Abigail Boggs, Assistant Professor of Sociology

10. Iris Bork-Goldfield, Adjunct Professor of German

11. Neely Bruce, John Spencer Camp Professor of Music

12. Douglas Charles, Professor of Archeology

13. Joan Cho, Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies

14. Fredrick M. Cohan, Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies

15. David Constantine, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

16. Logan Dancey, Assistant Professor of Government

17. Lisa Dombrowski, Associate Professor of Film Studies

18. John E. Finn, Professor of Government

19. Douglas C. Foyle, Associate Professor of Government

20. Courtney Fullilove, Assistant Professor of History

21. Martha Gilmore, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences

22. Megan Glick, Assistant Professor of American Studies

23. Lori Gruen, Professor of Philosophy and FGSS 24. Mary Alice Haddad, Professor of Government and Environmental Studies

25. Alice B. Hadler, Adjunct Instructor in English and Associate Dean of International Student Affairs

26. Nathaniel Heneghan, Visiting Assistant Professor of East Asian Studies

27. Manju Hingorani, Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

28. Abigail Hornstein, Associate Professor of Economics 29. Meredith Hughes, Assistant Professor of Astronomy

30. Elizabeth Jackson, Adjunct Associate Professor of Portuguese

31. Ron Jenkins, Professor of Theater

32. Kerwin Kaye, Assistant Professor of Sociology

33. Roy Kilgard, Research Associate Professor of Astronomy

34. Jin Hi Kim, Visiting Assistant Professor of Music

35. Natasha Korda, Professor of English

36. Abigail Levine, Visiting Instructor in Dance

37. Psyche Loui, Assistant Professor of Psychology

38. Clark Maines, Kenan Professor of the Humanities, Professor of Medieval Art and Architecture, and Professor of Archaeology

39. Peter Mark, Professor of Art History

40. Naho Maruta, Assistant Professor of the Practice of East Asian Studies

41. Emy Matesan, Assistant Professor of Government

42. Sean McCann, Professor of English

43. Louise C. Neary, Adjunct Associate Professor of Spanish

44. Rich Olson, Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

45. Maria Ospina, Assistant Professor of Spanish

46. Marcela Oteiza, Assistant Professor of Dance

47. Ana Perez-Girones, Adjunct Professor of Spanish

48. Ulrich Plass, Associate Professor of German and College of Letters

49. Catherine Poisson, Associate Professor of French

50. Stéphanie Ponsavady, Assistant Professor of French

51. Justine Quijada, Assistant Professor of Religion

52. Mike Robinson, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and Behavior

53. Patricia M. Rodriguez Mosquera, Associate Professor of Psychology

54. Rob Rosenthal, John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology

55. Mary-Jane Rubenstein, Professor of Religion

56. Yoshiko Samuel, Professor of Asian Languages and Literatures, Emerita

57. Jeanette Samyn, Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for the Humanities

58. Kathleen Schmidt, Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology

59. Anu Sharma, Associate Professor of Anthropology

60. Meng-Ju (Renee) Sher, Assistant Professor of Physics

61. Keiji Shinohara, Artist-in-Residence in Art and East Asian Studies

62. Anna Shusterman, Associate Professor of Psychology

63. Robert S. Steele, Professor of Psychology

64. Lori Stether, Emerging Technologies Librarian

65. Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, Professor of Classical Studies

66. Ying Jia Tan, Assistant Professor of History

67. Cláudia Tatinge Nascimento, Professor of Theater

68. Elizabeth Traub, Professor of Anthropology

69. Jennifer Tucker, Associate Professor of History

70. Gina Athena Ulysse, Professor of Anthropology and FGSS

71. Phillip B. Wagoner, Professor of Art History

72. Kim Weild, Visiting Associate Professor of Theater

73. Margot Weiss, Associate Professor of Anthropology and American Studies

74. Clara Wilkins, Assistant Professor of Psychology

75. Liza B. Williams, Visiting Assistant Professor of Government

76. Xiaomiao Zhu, Adjunct Professor of East Asian Studies

  • Committed not just involved

    I’m very impressed that the Wesleyan faculty feels strongly enough about this to not only pen this letter, but also each individually pledge $1000/year for the next four years (at a minimum) to fund Wesleyan as a Sanctuary. That $76,000 is a good start. Kudos to all willing to back up their words with dollars to support it.

    • DavidL

      You need to sign up for some serious remedial math.

      • Committed not Just Involved

        Not a remedial math issue. I was just looking at the first year intake. Assumed they’d lose the motivation, follow the next squirrel and no more money would come in.

    • Rike Moth

      I’d respect their decision to sign this a helluva lot more if they actually did this and put their money where there mouth is. But instead, we’ll get hit with another wave of alumni fundraisers to pay for the sanctuary campus AND to fund their salaries. #THISISWHY(THEALUMNIAREGETTINGPISSEDOFF)

  • GD Klein

    When a student at Wesleyan during the distant past, I was also a LEGAL immigrant from the Netherlands via Australia. As a student, I wanted the opportunity to learn, develop my interests, and earn a degree. I did not need, nor want, a sanctuary. I did want to be accepted as a fledgling American and that happened.

    George Devries Klein ’54, Professor Emeritus,Univ. of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign

    • Rike Moth

      I was waiting for you to get a response along these lines:

      “But… but… that’s because you are a white European male!! It’s easy for YOU to follow the rules and abide by the law. We shouldn’t possibly expect EVERYONE in the world to also follow the rules… I mean, what about the underrepresented?? You’re just an oppressor like the rest of them! Check your privilege, law-abiding citizen!”

      • GD Klein

        In reply, it is unfortunate and regretable that Wesleyan community members foster this sort of racism or reverse racism and at the same time, try to tie it to the university president by reversing certain letter.

        George Devries Klein ’54, Professor Emeritus,Univ. of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign

  • Andrew Tomer

    Good thing the Wesleyan had their big fundraiser BEFORE this crap came up.