The University of Maryland is one of a number of colleges that are now “sanctuary campuses” —schools that will shelter illegal immigrant students if and when President Trump decides to round them up and ship them back to their home countries. But UM still has things to apologize for, say campus social justice warriors.
Passing the policy has been a top priority for social justice warriors who are looking for any opportunity to publicly oppose Trump’s election on the country’s university campuses.
University of Maryland President Wallace Loh delivered his “sanctuary campus” announcement Tuesday night, saying that UM would happily protect students who lacked documentation. He said that he would require law enforcement officials to have a warrant to search student records, would increase the number of students and faculty of color accepted in to UM’s ranks, and would protect the truth in this “era of post-truth.”
But despite checking off all the progressive boxes, he still managed to trigger his schools’s campus social justice warriors—because he delivered part of his remarks in Spanish.
Angry students demanded an official apology and an explanation as to why Loh assumed all illegal immigrants are from Mexico. And the Spanish language, students said, “does not represent the entire immigrant community here.”
Students later complained that Loh, who was born and raised in South America and speaks Spanish as his first language, was being short-sighted in assuming all students and faculty who needed protection were of a “Latinx” background. One student said she was “personally offended” by his speech.
Loh, to his credit, refused to say he was sorry. “I simply said that I completely support — I said in Spanish what I previously said in English,” he told a protesting student. “Are you asking me to apologize because I’m speaking in Spanish, which is the first language I learned?”
But students doubled down. “As a student you want to know that your university stands by you and won’t use language that sort of offends you,” one audience member commented. “And even if you let them know they offended you, I think it’s important to acknowledge that. I don’t think he acknowledged that at all.”
Loh is now facing a full-on student revolt accusing him of cultural insensitivity and of failing to address the true needs of his student body, and what it means to be a “progressive campus.”
“This is our way of saying look, Loh, this is still a problem,” a student activist leader told the student newspaper. “And we’re still here trying to work with you on this.”