By Juan Vasquez
Lehman Students march during the May Day protest. Photo by Juan Vasquez.
Cries of “No borders! No nations! No more deportations!” echoed through the Lehman quad as a protest organized by the International Socialist Organization and the Lehman D.R.E.A.M. Team fought for sanctuary campuses. Official sanctuary status would mean the school would have no legal obligation to comply should Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers enter campus with a warrant to arrest all undocumented students.
“The D.R.E.A.M. Team has pushed for sanctuary campus resolutions which have been denied by previous Student Government Associations in the past,” Jona Kerluku, 22, a protester and a member of student government said. “The [CUNY] University Student Senate also passed a Sanctuary Campus Resolution to encourage the chancellor to support students who are undocumented. However, this resolution at Lehman has not passed committee for the College Senate and we have not yet established that Lehman College, and even CUNY at that, is a true sanctuary place for students.”
One observer of the entirety of the campus protest, Lehman student Liza Giralado, said that the protest was “something that should happen.” However, she was afraid to join, she added, because “I’m actually an immigrant...so I am kind of afraid that if I protest the cops are going to come and I just can’t afford to get arrested because I have to keep my nose clean for the citizenship.”
Two members of the Lehman D.R.E.A.M. Team, Denise Acevedo and Flor Reyes, differed as to whether or not the protest had made an impact.
Avecedo thought not, arguing that much more was necessary. “In order to make a difference we must all have an understanding of why May Day is important,” she said, “and that comes with a lot of unlearning and learning to do. I want Lehman administration to fully support and stand next to us and not be bystanders like they did today.”
Reyes, however, was much more optimistic. “Yes, quantity over quality... The protest today was just a mere example of actions that should be taken everywhere in order to better our future.”