By Carla Chacon
A round of supportive applause swept through the Stockdale Room as 21-year-old CSU Bakersfield student Laura Bautista wept as she asked how the country could have elected a president whose campaign was based on hatred.
Students, faculty and members of the Bakersfield community gathered on Tuesday, Nov. 22 to discuss the president-elect Donald Trump’s divisive policy intents and comments.
The major concern discussed in the forum was immigration and whether Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would be allowed on campus.
In response to Bautista’s question, professor of sociology Gonzalo Santos addressed President Mitchell.
“I support the policy that you have enunciated in your written statement of non-collaboration…but I’ll tell you this; this is a moral struggle,” said Santos. “If anyone attempts to come to this campus, [they are] going to face resistance and by that, I mean by every means necessary.”
Microphone in hand, Santos faced Mitchell, encouraging him to support immigrant students.
“There’s 180 colleges and universities that have already signed a national petition to Donald Trump not to revoke DACA. Four of which are Cal State universities…I expect you will sign that,” he said.
President Mitchell replied to Santos saying that he will sign the petition.
DACA refers to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Although it is not a way to permanent residency or citizenship, DACA protects undocumented youth who came to the U.S. as children from deportation and grants them a work permit.
During his campaign, Trump has said he would reverse current President Barack Obama’s executive actions and orders, which DACA falls under.
That idea has inflicted fear in students who are currently in the program.
But Mitchell said he wanted to assure everyone that they would be supportive of them.
“At times decisions like this become traumatic…I want to make sure that we address that in a way that is positive and make sure that people understand that we’re listening to them and that we will be supportive,” he said.
Mitchell added that if CSUB is asked to detain any member of the campus community, they will not do so.
“If the police is asked to detain someone, that is not something that we will do,” he said. “Unless they themselves have a reason to believe that somebody is a target of their enforcement, then theoretically they have a right to be here, but without any kind of campus collaboration.”
The campus is aiming to continue to build the sense of community which will be key to supporting minority groups.
“[CSUB], in being the sole four-year college in the region, plays a pivotal role in being a standard bearer of resistance on the attacks,” said Santos, “I would expect that this generation of students rise to the historic occasion and contribute to resisting any injustice being perpetrated onto vulnerable populations.”