Safety and Welcoming at UW Tacoma

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November 21, 2016


Dear Campus Community,

We’ve always been proud of how the UW Tacoma community embraces our mission of fostering an equitable society by serving this diverse community with educational programs and research so strongly connected to the needs and challenges of our region. We’ve been particularly impressed in the days since the election as we have watched students, faculty, staff and community partners come together to explore complex issues related to democracy, free speech and social justice. We have also been moved by the support everyone is showing one another during a time that may feel uncertain and stressful for some members of our community.

Last week President Cauce and Provost Baldasty affirmed that the University of Washington is fully committed to providing a safe, secure and welcoming environment. Their message,available online here, specifically addressed UW Seattle Police Department’s practices related to students who are undocumented and those covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Like Seattle, our UW Tacoma Campus Safety officers do not and will not detain, question or arrest individuals solely because they lack documentation. Nor do they or will they inquire about immigration status as they interact with the community. The Tacoma Police Department also does not inquire about people’s immigration status unless they are arrested and booked for a felony crime.

In the past several days we have heard many questions about students who are undocumented or covered by DACA. Our campus registrar and financial aid advisors work confidentially with these students as they work toward their degrees, including those who receive financial aid, which was made available for them a few years ago with the passage of Washington State Legislature’s House Bill 1079. These colleagues are working diligently to remain up-to-date on evolving best practices for supporting these students, including carefully monitoring government policies should they change. We know many faculty and staff are also offering their support for these students. If you have concerns or questions about undocumented college students, you can find resources, including an ally directory, at Leadership Without Borders or by emailing

UW Tacoma’s strategic plan makes it a priority for our campus to promote and model equity, inclusion and social justice while engaging in open dialog across different views and perspectives. We know there are a range of reactions and opinions in our community regarding the recent election. Together, in the spirit of mutual respect, we will continue to support all members of our community in pursuit of our educational mission.

Mark A. Pagano, Chancellor

Melissa R. Lavitt, Executive Vice Chancellor

Mark Pendras, Chair, UW Tacoma Faculty Assembly

Lauren Montgomery, Vice-Chair, UW Tacoma Faculty Assembly