Following the lead of their counterparts at three other University of California campuses, UCLA student representatives Friday announced that they will lend support to the sanctuary movement that shelters Central American refugees in the United States.
Noting that the Undergraduate Student Assn. Council unanimously passed a resolution earlier this week declaring itself a sanctuary, student representatives speaking at a press conference on the Westwood campus Friday said they will gather money and goods. In addition, they said they will organize educational programs to inform the public about what they view as the need to provide legal refugee status to people coming to the United States from violence-wracked Central America.
Admitting that the council's sanctuary declaration was "symbolic," the students nevertheless have agreed to provide temporary, off-campus housing for refugees in emergency situations, according to Tom Ward, a member of the Central American Refugee Sanctuary Organization, the student group that authored the council resolution.
"We feel this (the sanctuary movement) is the most important movement since the 1960s," he said, drawing a comparison with the massive student movement that opposed the Vietnam War.