GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WOFL FOX 51) - Christian Tirado said he and others want the University of Florida to be a safe haven for undocumented students and faculty.
Tirado is co-creator of a petition to make UF a sanctuary campus, where students, faculty, and staff would be able to walk around freely and not be afraid of being deported.
Among the 'provisions' outlined in the petition: not share undocumented students' personal information with immigration agents and prevent agents from raiding campus; and not give campus police power to enforce immigration rules.
Tirado said, "That they can continue their lives here whether it be getting an education or working for the University of Florida, and they won't have to worry about being deported."
Christian Tirado said his petition is gaining steam, with more than a thousand having signed it after just a couple of days. A university spokesperson says for undocumented students, the campus is already a safe place
Assistant Vice President of Public Affairs, Janine Sikes said, "Bottom line, the university does not keep any records of undocumented status for its students"
Sikes also gave the following statement about the online petition, which read, "We are aware there is a petition stating the University of Florida “should uphold its commitment to fostering a safe community for all students and faculty.”
The statement added, "We support that statement wholeheartedly and intend to do all we can to fulfill that commitment. UF has a long history of supporting its students and employees while following the law.
A safe and welcoming campus is among our highest priorities, not only for faculty and students, but also for staff. We affirm our support for all international students, faculty and staff."
The university clarified some of the 'provisions' listed in the petition, stating, "UF is committed to keeping sensitive records about individual students confidential, consistent with state and federal laws. "
Sikes said the uUniversity does not collect records on the identities of undocumented students.
"UF does not collect records on the identities of undocumented students. Documentation is not necessary to qualify a student for in-state tuition under a 2014 Florida statute that requires in-state tuition for any student, regardless of immigration status, who graduates from a Florida high school, applies to a Florida university, and satisfies related statutory criteria. UF and the state system supported enactment of this statute." The statement read.
The statement also said the University "offers confidential counseling services to any student or employee in distress, which may be accessed through the U Matter We Care program. This is an important safety support for our community."
Julia Rodriguez's grandparents are undocumented. She said the petition is a great idea.
Rodriguez explained, "...live the lives that they necessarily couldn't because of oppression"
Nicholas Pierre-Paul's parents immigrated from Haiti.
"I never knew sanctuary campuses were a thing," he said. "I think it's a really cool idea."
Tirado hopes to pass a resolution about this in student government in about a month.