Statement by Sue Sharpe on Behalf of Board of Trustees
The following is a statement made by Sue Sharpe, chair of Western’s Board of Trustees, at the start of the Friday, Dec. 9 board meeting:
I have had the opportunity to speak to my board colleagues over the last week and on their behalf I would like to express our recognition and deep concern of the situation many students and employees find themselves in today: living in fear and with apprehension for their future. Please know that the Board of Trustees is aware of the issues and actions that are fueling these concerns as we track them locally, in our communities and nationally, not just as Trustees but as concerned citizens.
We know that universities and colleges across our country are wrestling with the same issues we face here. These issues are complex with few clear answers at this point. What we do know is that we remain committed to the safety, security and education of every Western student. In particular, we are concerned about the uncertainty faced by undocumented students at Western. We support President Randhawa’s communications and efforts to address these issues and the University’s thoughtful approach that defines specific actions to support undocumented students, while recognizing that this situation is continuously evolving. We stand by President Randhawa’s statement, which echoes our strong belief and collective commitment, that “harassment and discrimination has no place at Western”. That was true yesterday, is true today and will be tomorrow.
We stand behind President Randhawa’s decision to include Western as a public university that supports the preservation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. We endorse the DACA program and support all students here at Western who are a part of it. The Trustees also appreciate President Randhawa’s leadership and efforts to coordinate with other higher education institutions locally, across the state and nationally to send a consistent and strong message to our federal officials on this matter.
As I talk with my colleagues on this Board, it is clear that the conversations taking place on this campus are similar to the ones we are experiencing in our respective communities and workplaces. This challenge is not unique to Western but we believe that Western and other educational institutions will lead the way in helping us navigate these times, by creating an environment where the respectful exchange of ideas and different perspectives is valued and promoted – ensuring safety and education for all students.
As we navigate our future please know that the Board of Trustees remains concerned and committed to the safety and security of every single Western Washington University student and employee and we will not waiver.