Equity, Inclusion and Justice are Pillars of the State College Community
Borough Council reaffirms the importance of equity and inclusion, but does not declare State College a “Sanctuary City”
STATE COLLEGE, PA, January 27, 2017 – On December 5, 2016, the State College Council adopted Resolution 1176, affirming its support for, and promoting the values of inclusion, equity and justice. This resolution condemned Islamophobia, Anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, sexism and homophobia in rhetoric and action. It also welcomed all people and recognized the rights of individuals to live their lives with dignity, free from discrimination because of their faith, sex or gender identity, race, national origin or immigration status.
This statement by the State College Council was expanded by the adoption of Resolution No. 1180, adopted on January 9, 2017, to specifically address immigrant status. This resolution, while affirming the Council’s statements and support for inclusion, equity and justice previously stated in Resolution No. 1176, did not establish State College as a so-called “Sanctuary City.” Neither did the resolution incorporate principles typically associated with Sanctuary City status.
The Resolution adopted in January expanded on the Equity and Inclusion Resolution adopted in December to demonstrate Council’s opposition to mandatory registration and Council recognition of the fact that immigration is a federal responsibility. The resolution also affirmed Council’s support for a long-standing Police Department practice that victims and witnesses are not asked about immigration status.
“Council adopted both of these resolutions because we believe that it is important to affirm our commitment to inclusion, equity and Justice,” said Tom Daubert, President of the State College Council.
The resolution recognized the need for the Borough to engage with others to provide information and education about immigration issues for our community. While the resolution affirmed Council’s position that the immigration is a federal responsibility, and stated that Council will not voluntarily assist in efforts to apprehend, detain or deport members of the community, the Resolution did not change any practice of the Borough or the State College Police Department. The State College Police Department, as in the past, will continue to assist in criminal investigations with local, state and federal law enforcement authorities. The Department will also assist any law enforcement agency in response to an order issued by the courts.
“Nothing has changed. If information about suspected criminal violations occurring in the State College Police Department’s jurisdictions comes to the attention of the State College Police today or anytime in the future, the Police Department will conduct the investigation themselves or assist any other local, state, or federal law enforcement agency in the investigation regardless of the person’s status,” State College Chief of Police John Gardner stated.
While neither of these resolutions establishes State College as a “Sanctuary City,” both Resolution 1176 and Resolution 1180 express the values of equity, inclusion and justice for all persons and the Borough of State College continues to support these values and the fundamental rights of all persons.
Mayor Elizabeth Goreham noted that these resolutions address important values that are critical to our community. “Although these resolutions do not establish State College as a Sanctuary City, we strongly support principles of equity, inclusion and justice for all persons in State College. It is important that all residents and visitors in our community, including immigrants, know that this is a safe and welcoming community.”