LOS ANGELES -- In the wake of the election, the University of
California has decided to reaffirm that it will focus only on
educating its students – not questioning the immigration status of
Janet Napolitano, the president of the University of California,
declared at the end of November in a statement that no UC schools
will cooperate with federal agents in immigration cases or actions
against students within the schools.
The announcement came after the election because of
President-elect Donald Trump's views on immigration.
However, this policy applies to much more than just protecting the
student population of the UC system. According to Hiroshi Motomura,
an immigration-law professor at the UCLA School of Law, the policy
put into place after the election encompasses a lot more than just
protecting the student population – even though ensuring the
UC-student population can focus on education is the main goal.
“The policy supports students and makes sure they graduate,”
Motomura told the Northern California Record.
The policies put into place will not only protect students, but
will also protect UC staff and patients at the hospitals within the
UC system. Several hospitals in California are aligned with several
UC universities, including UCLA and the UC-San Francisco, as both
universities have medical schools.
As such, the policy has three tiers. The first tier explains what
will be done to ensure students will feel safe at UC and be able to
focus on their education, the second tier has details on shielding
staff members working at the universities, and the third tier of the
policy will focus on patient care at the various hospitals within the
Despite the fact that protecting students is the main goal,
protecting patients so they can focus on getting the care they need
is paramount so people can focus on getting better, not worry about
“Education and health care is our primary mission,” Motomura
While the UC schools are public, such policies can be applied at a
private university as well, should the powers that be who run a
private college choose to do so regardless of whether that college is
in California or any other state.
“Any private school could declare the same thing,” Motomura
A major part of the noncooperation with federal authorities is
that school-safety officers, who are charged at all colleges with
protecting the student and staff population, will be taking that call
to duty at all UC schools to a higher level by refusing to detain any
student based on immigration status. This was something put into the
policy by Napolitano.
“Campus police will not arrest anyone based on immigration
status,” Motomura said.
The statement of noncooperation by UC could also be considered
something else entirely and set a precedent for other universities to
“UC’s statement is a form of state law,” Motomura said.