Student Government Association President Nathaniel Steinlicht announced his plans to veto the sanctuary campus resolution Thursday afternoon.
“The primary reason I will not sign this resolution is because I will not risk our state and federal funding for nominal changes to the university,” Steinlicht said in a letter that was sent to SGA senators via email.
A letter of support for the veto was also included from Vice President Michelle Novak.
In his letter, Steinlicht went through each of the resolution’s recommendations and stated why he believed they are unnecessary.
“As president, I was elected by the student body to serve and represent all of their interests and I will not risk their student aid and potentially higher tuition because of political backlash for unnecessary recommendations,” he said.
Steinlicht said he talked with university administration before making his decision to veto.
“They said that no matter what decision they would support us,” he said in a phone interview with The Volante.
The sponsor of the resolution, Senator Josh Arens, said he’s going to try to override the veto at the next SGA meeting on March 14.
“It’s obvious to me that the administration wanted him to veto this because they clearly don’t want to have to say no themselves to any of the recommendations that the senate came up with,” Arens said. “Next meeting I will attempt to override, the vote last week was 17-7. We only need two-thirds to override the veto. If not, I have incoming senators that are more than willing to introduce this legislation. I’m pretty sure the next president and vice president are going to follow through with the senate as one of their key points was inclusiveness.”
In an interview with The Volante on Friday morning, USD President James Abbott said he and Steinlicht’s conversations regarding the resolution were “very brief.”
In order to address Steinlicht’s concerns for potential funding cuts, Abbott said he visited with USD attorneys.
“I said, ‘It’s hard to know at the moment what exactly could or would happen under the law, but it’s a significant concern,'” he said. “And that’s about all we talked about.”
While Abbott “wholeheartedly agree(s)” with SGA’s attempt to protect all students, he said there are a number of issues with this resolution, including the risk of losing funding.
“There are other issues like cooperation with the immigration services… and the various police department issues. I think those, I want to review those,” he said. “My goal would be to protect our students as much as possible within the limits of the law, within the confines of the law.”
Depending on the resolution’s final outcome, Abbott will talk more with the USD attorneys, he added.
Overriding the veto at SGA’s next meeting would take place under old business. Steinlicht said this means the resolution would only be in effect for a couple minutes until Teagan McNary and Josh Anderson were sworn in as the new president and vice president.
“I would be under no obligation to take it to President Abbott and Teagan and Josh would be under no obligation to do anything with it,” he said
McNary said she won’t do anything with the resolution if Steinlicht’s veto is overridden during old business at next Tuesday’s meeting in a phone interview with The Volante on Monday afternoon.
“I don’t think that I would do anything with it,” she said. “There’s been talk that it will be the first bill under my administration and we’ll deal with that when it comes. I would like to see a couple more amendments on the bill.”
McNary wants to involve all parties on campus in the final decision.
“I’ve been in contact with the CDC and I want to talk to some more students…” she said. “I am open to hearing both sides of things. I’m looking forward to working with faculty and administration to find a compromise that works for everyone… I would like to see the bill pass.”
The possible repercussions for USD if the resolution passes are still largely unclear, Abbott said.
“Sometimes the best of intentions are thwarted by factors beyond our control and that may be the case here,” he said. “The fact is, we just don’t know yet.”