Swarthmore College declares itself a sanctuary campus

Swarthmore College students and faculty join a national walk out in support of undocumented students who qualify for the deferred action plan that President-elect Trump says he will eliminate. About 80 schools and universities walked out of class to support #SanctuaryCampus.

Swarthmore College has become a sanctuary campus, deciding against voluntarily sharing student information with immigration officials or willingly giving them access to college property.

That announcement came Friday from college president Valerie Smith and board of managers chairman Thomas Spock. In an email to Swarthmore community members, Smith also said that college public safety officers will continue to not ask about immigration status, and will not participate in the E-Verify program, an internet database that enables businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.

"When there is a rising national rhetoric of intolerance and acts of hate that threaten people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ individuals, Jews, women, and immigrants, among others, we affirm our protection of these groups, and we affirm our intention to support all students in their quest to pursue their education without government interference," the email said.

The decision follows student protests and a petition favoring making the school a sanctuary campus. The school enrolls just over 1,500 students. Swarthmore supports the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and admits undocumented students without regard to their financial status.

Earlier in the week, the University of Pennsylvania, with over 21,000 full-time students, declared itself a sanctuary campus. Students across the country have been staging walkouts to encourage more campuses to make the switch.

rheilweil@phillynews.com

215-854-2771@RebeccaHeilweil