The Student Government Association discussed a resolution on Tuesday night that would make USD a ‘sanctuary campus,’ which would shield undocumented students from immigration officials.
Before discussion, Kade Lamberty, president of College Republicans, objected to the resolution as it was written.
“The resolution supports the breaking of federal laws and this is the most unfair to USD’s legal immigrant community who went through the proper steps and channels to have the privilege of living in our great country, attending USD and receiving the benefits provided by both,” Lamberty said.
SGA Senator Josh Arens sponsors the resolution and said the resolution is legal.
“The resolution says it will protect undocumented students ‘to the fullest extent under the law,'” he said. “No alternative facts, don’t listen to those that say it does call for illegal action. I think it’s important that the (school) administration list what it would do in a situation in which a student might be in a tricky situation whether it’s a deportation or they want to go home and are unsure if they’d be able to come back into the U.S.”
Senator Olivia Mann wanted to know if the resolution was proposed to get a reaction from the university administration.
“The purpose of the resolution, kind of the vibe I’m getting from you, is to get a response from the administration, clarifying what the administration’s stance on this is,” she said. “Would you be more amenable to a version of this resolution that was just asking for a response of some sort? Rather than going so far as to bring in sanctuary and the debate that comes with it.”
Arens responded by saying he wanted SGA to have a stance as well, not just the administration.
“I thought about just asking for more clarification, but I think that it’s important for SGA to say where we stand, so the university knows what’s expected of them,” he said. “We shouldn’t just be a passive body that just sits around while others make decisions.”
The discussion was tabled and the bill was sent to student affairs for revisions.
Arens also sponsored a resolution supporting the expansion of gender inclusive facilities. The resolution would switch all signs on single-stall restrooms on campus with signs that say “all genders.”
The resolution would urge USD to have at least one all-gender stall in all buildings. If renovations on existing buildings or construction of new buildings were to take place, the university must consider putting an all-gender restroom in the building.
A pilot program will start next week with some single-stall restrooms receiving new signs.
President Nathaniel Steinlicht urged SGA to wait until the completion of the pilot program to determine if it’s successful.
“We want to make sure people understand what the signage means,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s appropriate calling for an expansion before the pilot program even starts.”
Arens responded saying the resolution isn’t anything radical.
“It’s changing the sign on the restroom,” he said. “Everybody uses the single-stall restrooms anyways, we just want to ensure that everyone knows all genders can use the restroom.”