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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

University responds to rumors of ICE at Western

By Stella Harvey

Rumors that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers were seen on campus circulated on Wednesday, May 2.

In a campus-wide email sent out Wednesday evening, Vice President of Enrollment and Student Services Melynda Huskey addressed these claims.  

According to Police Chief Darin Rasmussen, ICE is not currently conducting operations on Western’s campus, Huskey said in the email.

She said Western’s policy does not enforce federal immigration law, and the university does not undertake efforts with federal immigration authorities to investigate, detain or arrest students.

According to Huskey’s email, ICE, U.S. Customs and Border Protection or any other third-party officials are not allowed to remove or interrogate Western students or employees without a valid warrant signed by a judge.

In an email to The Western Front, Huskey said she learned about the rumors from a staff member, and has no information on where they originated.

Huskey said if any federal law enforcement agency is on campus, Western’s protocol states the agency must confirm their presence with University Police and the Assistant Attorney General’s Office.

Western’s policy titled Providing Immigration Information states if ICE, CBP or any other third party official seeks physical access to the Western campus without consent from the university’s director of public safety and assistant attorney general’s office, they will be asked to leave.

Rumors like these can cause fear across campus and are disruptive to Western’s community as a whole, Huskey said.

Huskey said students should contact the University Police or Public Safety Office if they see someone they believe to be an ICE officer.

Huskey said part of the reason she encourages students to contact University Police is because there are many reasons an individual agent might be on campus. She said these reasons could range from taking an exam, being a guest lecture in a class or taking part in a panel discussion.

She said University Police can provide students with information if they think they see an ICE officer on campus, and help the university to know what students are perceiving.

Students can reach University Police at (360) 650-3555 and the Public Safety Office at (360) 650-3911.

*This story was updated on May 3 at 5 p.m. It will continue to be updated.  



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