Tacoma, WA – Once again, college staff, faculty and students on the left coast are losing their minds over law enforcement. The University of Washington at Tacoma is refusing to allow U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents participate in its winter career fair.
Yes, a publicly funded, state university is denying access to a federal law enforcement agency, yet a quick search for other employers in attendance show that the Washington State Patrol had a booth set-up.
So why are people “triggered” at the thought of CBP recruiting soon-to-be college graduates?
Well, let’s ask UW Tacoma.
“As a university campus with one of the most diverse student bodies in the U.S., we strive to create an environment that is supportive for all our students.
We have students who are immigrants and whose parents are immigrants.
And we have students who are interested in learning about career opportunities with a wide range of employers, including the nation’s uniformed services.
We know there will be times when employers request access to our career fairs whom some may regard as controversial.
UW Tacoma does not endorse or recommend employers, and the presence of an employer on campus does not imply our endorsement or recommendation.
Our “employer user policy” that all employers must agree to before they are allowed to recruit among our students, whether online or face-to-face, allows us at our discretion to grant or limit an organization’s access to recruit at any time.
In this particular instance, the upcoming presence of U.S. CBP on campus had created significant concern among a number of our students and faculty, who stated very clearly that they would feel unsafe and dissuaded from participating in the career fair.
Considering the positive and educational purpose of the career fair, we determined the best course of action was to ask CBP not to participate, and they agreed.”
In what could be one of the most ironic aspects to this story, the Progressive Student Union (PSU) of UWT posted about the issue on their Facebook page.
But, here is the ironic part. That post was directly above this one.
That was the link to the change.org petition they were posting in an effort to get CBP uninvited.
The petition gained 206 signatures out of the 500 they were seeking. Total enrollment for the winter quarter of 2020: 5,213.
Less than 4% of the enrollment was all it took for the university’s administration to fold.
Is 4% the “significant concern” that the university alluded to in its official statement?
Remember, they said it “created significant concern among a number of our students and faculty.”
You have to wonder, how many of the signatures on the petition started by the Progressive Students Union were from actual members of the UWT campus.
“They have no place on this campus,” said Sean Arent, president of the Progressive Student Union of UWT. “We’re going to be loud and clear that they’re not welcome here.”
UW Tacoma made the right decision in asking CBP not to attend, Arent went on to say.
“Everyone stepped in to let them know how we felt about this situation,” he said.
Obviously Sean is not a math major, nor has he appeared to have taken a class in statistics. Everyone would 100%, Sean. You got 4%. That is exactly 1/25th of everyone.
CBP fired back at the campus’ decision.
Jason Givens, CBP spokesperson covering the state of Washington, told The News Tribune prior to the UWT statement that it’s common for CBP to attend career fairs.
“CBP is there to talk about the excellent career opportunities. They are not there for law enforcement purposes,” Givens said in an email.
“The University of Washington Tacoma is one of the jewels in the crown of Pierce County, an institution that makes us proud regularly.
However, it has come to our attention that the US Customs and Border Patrol, those in the news for separating Hispanic children from their parents, are to be recruiting at a University Career Fair on the 26th of February at the University YMCA, where non-citizens and dreamers will be in attendance,” the letter stated.
“We understand that you probably had little choice allowing CBP to participate in the fair, but feel that it may be incumbent upon you to defuse this unfair and threatening situation for students attending.
The officers of CBP, you announced, will be on duty within their jurisdiction and thus empowered to arrest, or at the least, pick up any information they can garner from students.”
The letter, sent by candidates Ryan Mello, Tim Farrell, Yanah G. Cook, Jani Hitchen and Sarah Rumbaugh, asked if there was a separate room that could be provided for CBP recruitment.
“We hope we aren’t out of line in suggesting this, but it struck us as very much a fraught situation,” the emailed letter stated.
This is the political climate that CBP is working with in Washington.
Let’s not forget what happened in California last fall.
College students in California were offered free counseling after they were “triggered” when offered job opportunities with the U.S. Customs & Border Patrol Agency.
California State University in San Bernardino (CSUSB) students received an email from the career center advising them of new career opportunities.
It is reported that this email contained information and a flyer from the U.S. Customs & Border Patrol Agency announcing hiring webinars targeting veterans and military personnel who might be looking for a career within the agency.
Shortly after the message was sent, members of the student body took to social media to lodge their complaints against the career center.
BRP-Business and Politics online reports one twitter user @ifoundajalapeno posted:
“The career center at CSUSB really didn’t think this one through. There is already underrepresentation of our undocumented students at this campus and this was to say the least – thoughtless.”
The career center at CSUSB really didn’t think this one through. There is already underrepresentation of our undocumented students at this campus and this was to say the least – thoughtless. pic.twitter.com/v2aSGqNPxh
— s8n spawn (@ifoundajalapeno) August 5, 2019
Another user @alcon0321 tweeting out:
“CSUSB really sent out a Border Patrol Recruitment email to a school where over 60% is HISPANIC.”
Due to the backlash on social media, and distressed complaints back to the career center, it is reported by Charlie Kirk the founder and president of Turning Point USA that the University quickly sent out an apology to the student body. Kirk posted the apology email publicly on his twitter page:
“The Career Center sincerely apologizes for the email sent to students on Monday, August 5, 2019, regarding the employment webinars offered by the U.S. Border Patrol. We recognize that some recipients experienced distress due to the contents of the message, and we acknowledge the validity of your concerns.
Cal State San Bernardino is apologizing for sending an email promoting employment opportunities with the US Border Patrol
Students complained the emails were “triggering” & the school is offering counseling
RT if you support the brave men and women of the USCBP! pic.twitter.com/3bhOSp7uTe
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) August 8, 2019
Please know that the Career Center is committed to informing students about employment opportunities while also considering the safety and well-being of all members of the campus community.
If you wish to address this in person, you are welcome to visit the Career Center to speak with our Interim Director.
To schedule, please call [redacted]. You may also contact Counseling and Psychological Services if you would like to speak with a professional counselor [redacted] or visit our Undocumented Student Success Center in SU-102B for additional resources or support.”
There were no further details in the apology about what particular section of the original “we’re hiring’ email was found to be so distressing to students. News outlets are reporting that the University has not responded to requests for comments.
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This is not the first incident of a college or university coming under fire for promoting careers with the U.S. Customs and Boarder Patrol.
Breitbart news reported that The University of Texas at El Paso had invited CBP officers to their campus to speak with criminal justice students, in November of 2018.
The report goes on to say that when agents were seen at the campus an individual took to social media to post a false claim that the agents were only on the campus looking for “someone”.
This in turn sparked a barrage of retweets and comments from other users who continued to add to the false claims of the agent’s presence on the campus. Many claimed that the University’s campus police were not even aware that the CPB agents were there that day.
Breitbart news goes on to state explain that Chief Cliff Walsh of the UTEP Police Department explained that the department was aware and that the CBP had been invited to participate in the career day. Walsh stated:
“They were here to share their experiences with our students who might be interested in these types of career opportunities.”
In March of this year, a University of Arizona (U of A) student Denisse Moreno Melchor, took to social media to live stream her displeasure of CBP agents being on her campus for a criminal justice career day.
Sources say that these agents were also invited by the school’s criminal justice organization to participate in the event. Students had gathered in a room to listen to the CBP agents when Melchor decided to interrupt the event and livestream it on social media.
The Arizona Daily Independent reports that Melchor stood outside the room while filming and yelling out. The news report goes on to state that Melchor yelled out to the group:
“They allow murderers to be on campus where I pay to be here. Murderers! On campus. Murderers! On campus.”
She went on to further yell that the University of Arizona was supposed to be a “safe space” and that US Customs & Border Patrol are just part of the KKK.
In defense of Malchor’s actions, the Daily Independent also reported that the Student Body president and other members called for the banning of CBP Agents from the University of Arizona campus. Part of the demand that was sent to the University stated:
“Although we recognize their attendance was solely to recruit students to join their workforce, the presence of uniform to USBP agents on our campus, especially without warning was, is, and will always be immensely harmful to our DACA and undocumented community.”
It is reported that not all of the students at the University agreed with the letter sent out by the Student Body, as some reached out to CBP in direct disagreement with the letter.
As incidents like this continue to increase across the country several news outlets report that the hateful rhetoric and negative connotations that are associated with the US Customs and Border Patrol Agency are the driving force behind these individuals’ actions. There is a fear that incidents like this will continue to increase in numbers as the negative feelings towards the agency grow in nature.
There are still individuals that are publicly speaking out in support of the CPB and their participation in such events like career days. As the Blaze.com reports a spokesperson for Turing Point USA stated:
“Last I checked, it was an honor to be in law enforcement and serve your country.”