The USD Student Government Association passed a resolution Tuesday night with language echoing sanctuary campus resolutions from universities around the country. The vote was 17-7.
The resolution “recommends the university administration… assign an administrator, who is knowledgeable of current immigration affairs… as a point of contact for students…(and) provide students confidential consultation and advice.”
This would allow undocumented students to seek counseling and advice from a USD administrator should they have legal concerns.
The resolution would also “recommend the university administration… prohibit campus security from inquiring about or recording as to an individual’s immigration status or enforcing immigration laws or participating with ICE and CBP actions.”
UPD would thus be prevented from cooperating with immigration forces, should they investigate a student or be present on campus.
If a student were to be detained or deported, they would be allowed to take online courses.
Senator Josh Arens introduced the bill and said he’s cautiously optimistic about the impact the resolution will have.
“All this does is offer recommendations to the administration,” he said. “So we’re going to have to keep up the pressure in order to get these implemented and see them become real policy.”
The resolution also asks USD to develop a plan to implement the recommendations by the end of this year.
In an article published last week by The Volante, Paul Turman, vice president of academic affairs for the Board of Regents, said he was unsure SGA had the authority to make USD a sanctuary campus.
“There’s really no clear way to operationalize what that (sanctuary campus) means,” he said. “I think what we would seek to do is really lay out some sort of guideline or policy structure that establishes what being a ‘sanctuary’ meant for the campus.”
Student feedback on GAF
Despite the fact that the GAF increase was passed three weeks ago, the matter is still contentious among some students.
Senior Will Himmler addressed SGA about a survey he held asking 100 students if they wanted tuition increased by $9 per credit hour. This is the same amount the general activity fee increased tuition.
“Of the 100 students, 98 said ‘no,’ one said ‘yes’ and one said ‘I don’t care/don’t know,’” Himmler said.
He also asked what they would want to see the $9 per credit hour increase go towards.
“Only five percent of students wanted the increase to go towards athletics,” Himmler said. “One-third of all students I asked wanted the increase to go towards academic activities, which was by far the best option students wanted. Fifteen percent wanted to have a rave party, 14 percent wanted campus bicycles, 13 percent wanted to fund an on-campus brewery, nine percent wanted guest speakers and one percent wanted a live action role-playing battle. Ten percent wanted to watch SGA fight over Skittles on the floor of the MUC pit like Hungry, Hungry Hippos.”
To demonstrate his point, Himmler proceeded to present Skittles and a pie that he cut up and gave five percent of the pie to vice president Michelle Novak.
“That isn’t a lot of pie, is it?” he asked of Novak.
Senator John Slunecka, upset over Himmler’s and other students’ feedback, said that if students don’t talk to their representatives or vote in elections, they shouldn’t complain about certain situations after the fact.
“If you can’t find someone who represents you, then run (for senate),” he said. “Otherwise, you need to come talk to us. I’ve been on this senate for three and a half years and all I’ve seen is student apathy and once and a while a student will come to me and say, ‘You’re not doing your job.’ Well, nobody runs for senate, that’s why most of us are at-large senators.”
Last week, SGA senators discussed having a closed meeting in order to discuss student perceptions of the senate because of some angry students that spoke at the meeting. The measure was ultimately voted against.