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Jan. 10, 2017

SG Assembly Calls for Part of SG Budget to Be Allocated Toward Undocumented Students

Student Government (SG) General Assembly passed two resolutions on Monday evening—one calling for the creation of a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) advisory council, and one calling on the University to become a “sanctuary campus.”  

General Assembly consists of College Council, Graduate Council, and SG Executive Committee.  

The “sanctuary campus” resolution included an amendment calling on SG to create a “designated portion” of the SG budget to be allocated by the proposed advisory council with the goal of supporting undocumented students and those protected under DACA.  

The first resolution—calling upon the University to establish an advisory council consisting of six undocumented students and six administrators—was passed with no amendments. However, many members of Graduate Council saw merit in calling for student participation in an existing administrative body.  

Many campuses across the country have declared themselves “sanctuary campuses” in the wake of President-elect Donald Trump’s election victory, indicating that they will limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities in order to protect students from deportation. The University has avoided calling itself a sanctuary campus, though it has committed to take some steps to support the students threatened by Trump’s education policy, including continuing to provide financial aid without regard to immigration status. 

Trump has promised to repeal DACA, an executive order made by President Barack Obama in 2012. The repeal of DACA would eliminate work permits and protection from deportation for young people who were brought to the United States as children.  

Both resolutions passed Monday are primarily calls to action aimed at the administration, apart from the emergency fund allocations. 

First-year representatives Kosi Achife, Veronica Myers, and Jahne Brown proposed the resolutions with the help of first-year undocumented student Moises Rodriguez Cruz.  

On the first resolution, two Graduate Council representatives raised the concern that the resolution was calling for the creation of a body, where it could instead call for student participation on the existing one.  

Brown responded by saying that when the resolutions were initially proposed, the authors had no knowledge of a preexisting advisory council. Fourth-year representative Joshua Engelman then pointed to the two e-mails from Provost Daniel Diermeier that reaffirmed the University’s commitment to undocumented students protected under DACA.  

Since the College Council vote last week, Diermeier has elaborated on the administration’s plan to protect undocumented students in a school-wide e-mail.  

“The University will continue to meet 100 percent of the demonstrated financial aid need of all undergraduate students, regardless of immigration status. Additionally, undocumented and DACA undergraduate and graduate students may access emergency funds from the Office of Campus and Student Life for expenses outside the standard educational expenses,” the e-mail reads.  

After the passage of the first resolution 20–3–3 with no amendments, despite one amendment being written to propose student participation in the existing council, General Assembly moved to debate the second resolution, which calls on the University to become a “sanctuary campus.”  

Third-year representative Adam Biesman articulated his dissatisfaction with the second resolution, calling it more “political” than the first.  

“I don’t think the political risk of attempting to protect the livelihoods of some of the most vulnerable people on the campus is one not worth taking. I don’t think the anger this might cause in a select few students on this campus…is worth not taking a stand given the risk at hand,” Community and Government Liaison Cosmo Albrecht said.  

Myers said that the resolution itself is more tangible than symbolic, pointing to clauses that give concrete actions the University takes.  

“If this university and its students aren’t going to show their solidarity with their students that they were chosen to represent it really defeats the purpose of your job,” Rodriguez Cruz said. “If you’re worried about controversy instead of protecting your classmates and constituents it’s really pointless for you to be here.” 

“There are other students that don’t agree with this resolution so just keep in mind that there are people that disagree as well,” Biesman said. “Keep in mind that sometimes your job might be representing people that disagree with you.” 

An amendment, originally intended for the first resolution, was passed and added onto the second resolution. The amendment called for student participation on the administrative council should the University not implement the first resolution. One Graduate Council representative worried that the amendment didn’t “fit with the resolution,” but it passed nonetheless, with representatives acknowledging that it would have taken too long to reconsider the first resolution with the addition of the new amendment  

Additionally, the amendment creating a fund for undocumented students was passed by a majority of SG General Assembly.  

The second resolution, calling on the University to become a “sanctuary campus,” was passed by the body along with the two amendments in a vote of 19-2-5.  

General Assembly was adjourned before it was able to hear all of the items on the agenda. A resolution in support of the so-called “Stone Report,” was pushed to the next General Assembly meeting, as were proposed changes to SG’s governing documents which will require a student body referendum. 

The full text, along with the text of both passed amendments, is below.

Amendment #1:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that should the administration not create the advisory council as specified on the Resolution on Advisory Councils, they appoint the DACAmented, undocumented, and international students specified therein to the existing administrative council.

Amendment #2:

A designated portion of the Student Government budget consisting of allocations from the College Council, Graduate Council, and SG Administrative Budget funds shall be set aside with each body deciding how much of their funds will be allocated. The implication of this budget will be decided upon by the Advisory Council, in line with the mission to further support undocumented/DACAmented students, by the next Assembly meeting, which will then be voted on by the Assembly with a majority vote, except in the instance that this Advisory Council should not be formed, whereas the Assembly itself will decide on the allocation of these funds.

 

 

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