CLAS petition to Stanford President Tessier-Lavigne

November 17, 2016


Dear Mr. President Tessier-Lavigne,

The signatory students, faculty, staff and alumni of the Center for Latin American Studies write to you with some concrete suggestions of how our University can play its role in a new political environment.

We fully agree with your letter reaffirming principles of open discussion and the values of free expression, diversity and inclusion. We also appreciate the effort to put resources in place to support our students and larger community emotionally. Recognizing the vulnerability that many in our community feel, we also feel it is important to acknowledge the legitimacy of the election and the country’s choice of a new President. We must continue working to ensure that ours remains a community open to all race, color, national origin, religion and LGBTQIA individual identification.

As we move ahead in the coming weeks and months, we believe the University should position itself to become a “sanctuary” for our larger community and to deploy our massive resources of research, teaching and learning to advance the social good, tackling some of the most pressing social and economic issues of our day.  Our role is relevant not just for our members, but our larger community, the United States, and the world. With this purpose in mind we suggest that the university consider the following concrete actions.

  1. Ensure that any of our students who may be undocumented, regardless of whether they enjoy the benefits of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) can get support from our Office of the General Counsel to represent them and aid them to retain their status and remain members of our community. This is already being done by the University of California. DREAMers and other students who may not be documented should be notified as soon as possible of resources made available to them by the university.
  2. Reach out to our service workers (janitors, gardeners, food services, etc.) to reassure them that the University will assess ways to ensure that they, and their immediate families, will be protected with legal resources we will make available to them.
  3. Reach out to the Community Colleges and State Universities around us, sharing our educational resources and faculty, leveraging our online course platforms and encouraging our students to volunteer as mentors, in order to close the gap between our elite education and that offered in our larger community. 
  4. Fundraise to provide a multi-million dollar University grant to be managed by the Center on Poverty and Inequality so that they may continue and expand research seeking to understand how to tackle poverty, reduce inequality and increase social mobility in the United States. Stanford should become the hub of scholarship connecting social scientists with big data scientists, education and health experts and other scholars that may offer policy-relevant solutions to some of the country's most pressing challenges.
  5. Work on finding ways to make University resources available to the Mills Legal Clinic at our Law School for both high impact litigation and direct representation. We should make our students aware of opportunities that will be made possible for them to volunteer and participate actively becoming "student attorneys", "clerks" or "aides" defending legal cases they feel passionately about. The legal defense of migrants should be connected to outreach efforts being done already by University Centers including the Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) and El Centro Chicano and Latino, among others.
  6. Create a Presidential Task Force with members from the Department of Economics, the Business School, SIEPR and the Hoover Institution to analyze the economic impacts of a potential repeal or renegotiation of NAFTA, for both the United States and its partner countries, Mexico and Canada. This task force should be non-partisan and tasked with the mandate to make an objective analysis without any foregone conclusions of the effects of changes in US trade policy on global trade.
  7. Support efforts by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and Stanford Global Studies (SGS) to produce scholarship on the impact of changes in US policy for nuclear deterrence and non-proliferation, European and Asian security, global migration, the drug trade in Latin America and other global topics of urgent concern.
  8. Fundraise to enhance the research carried out by the School of Engineering, the Precourt Institute for Energy and the Woods Institute for the Environment, to step up the pace of innovation in alternative sources of energy, including efforts to bring them quickly to market, regardless of US Climate Change policies.
  9. Continue supporting innovation in information and computer technologies, with the collaboration of companies in our vicinity, to provide technological, social and ethical answers for making a responsible use of information and protecting First Amendment rights for everyone.
  10. Encourage Stanford engineers to produce new technological solutions to protect civil liberties and prevent abuse by law enforcement officers. This includes promoting hackathons and seed money for innovations embedding technology with social movements and protests demanding the protection of minority rights.
  11. Incorporate into the strategic plan of the University an expansion of billets seeking to recruit Faculty that will engage some of the most pressing social issues. Leverage our international programs, including Humanities Fellows, Knight-Hennessy Scholars, John S. Knight Journalism Fellows, the Center for Advanced Studies for the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), and other similar initiatives to make our University a privileged space for discussion of the challenges humanity faces today.

We firmly believe that, within the bounds of your institutional mandate, the power and prestige of our University must create an environment that protects academic freedom while upholding universal values and actively working for the benefit of our global community. We feel the weight of our responsibility in continuing to educate ourselves as men and women who can break existing boundaries and make ours a better society.


Alberto Díaz-Cayeros FSI Senior Fellow /CLAS Director

Aaron Bobrow-Strain MA '93

Adan Griego affiliated faculty, Curator for Latin American Collections

Adriana Díaz-Ross, MA LAS 2011

Adrienne Murphy, MA LAS '12

Agripino S Silveira, PhD, Portuguese Language Program

Alice A. Miano, Ph.D., Spanish Language Program

Amado Padilla, Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education

Amy Gottesfeld, MA '01

Ana M. Sierra, Ph.D. 1996, Education

Andrea da Motta, MA LAS 13

Andrea Hale, MA Latin American Studies '17

Angela Garcia, affiliated faculty, Associate Professor Dept. of Anthropology

Anna Castillo, PhD Iberian and Latin American Cultures '17

Anthony Muro Villa III, PhD, Education '19

Beatriz Magaloni, Associate Professor of Political Science and Senior Fellow, FSI

Benita Herreros, MA LAS '12

Charles Walker, MA 1982

Dain Borges, MA 1978, PhD 1984

David B. Grusky, Affiliated Faculty, CLAS

Eddy Rosales Chavez, Latin American Studies minor '17

Efrain Brito, MA LAS '98, Education '19

Elizabeth Sáenz-Ackermann, CLAS Associate Director

Ellen Moore, MA LAS 2012

Everardo Rodriguez, Librarian & Curatorial Assistant, Green Library

Fabiola Puerta, M.A. LAS '07

Florencia Torche (Sociology)

Gabrielle Fulco, MA CLAS '15

Gerardo L. Munck, MA Latin America Studies 1984

Graciela Gomez, MA LAS 2017

Greg Ledingham, Global Studies minor '18

Guadalupe Rojo MA 2010

Guadalupe Valdes Professor of Education

Haynes Winkler, MA LAS 2014

Héctor Hoyos, associate professor, Iberian and Latin American Cultures

Holly Moulton, MA Candidate in Latin American Studies, 2017

Indra Levy, Associate Professor of Japanese and Comparative Literature

James Cavallaro, Professor of Law, Stanford Law School

Jessica Aaron, BA 1999 (Poli Sci/Spanish), MA 2000 (Latin American Studies)

Jill Martin 1999 MA CLAS

John Engelbert, MA 2010

Jonathan D. Greenberg, affiliated faculty, lecturer Stanford Law School

Juan D. Lindau, MA Latin American Studies 1980

Kai Medeiros - (JD/MA, Latin America Studies Candidate, 2017)

Karen Camacho, BA '16, MA '17

Katherine Bellerose, MA LAS 2015

Kathleen Bruhn, MA LAS 1988, PhD Political Science 1993

Laura Quirarte, CLAS Business Administrator

Laura Schilling, CLAS Program Coordinator

Linda Madrid, MA LAS 2015

Lyris Wiedemann, Senior Lecturer, Stanford Language Center - Affiliated

Madeleine Bouton Class of 2018

Magdalena Fitipaldi, MA'16 / FSI

Maria Walker, CLAS MA 2017

Mariana Mora, MA LAS 2002

Marie Lefebvre, MA LAS '17

Marilia Librandi-Rocha, Assistant Professor, Iberian and Latin American Cultures

Mark Anner, MA LAS 1991

Mary W. Quazzo, MA Latin American Studies, 1985; JD 1989

Merlin Greuel, BA '12

Michael J. Rosenfeld (Sociology)

Mikael Wolfe, Assistant Professor of History and affiliated CLAS faculty

Molly Aufdermauer, CLAS Public Engagement Coordinator

Patricia Terrazas, SHC staff

Rachel Taube, MA '14

Robert Jack, A.B. '03

Rodolfo Dirzo, CLAS faculty

Sage Behr, BA Comparative Literature '16

Samuel Garcia Class of 2018

Sandra Oseguera, MA'17

Srihari Seshasayee, MA LAS 15'

Stefanie Welsch MA 14

Tomás R. Jiménez (sociology & CSRE)

Vanessa Melo, MA'17