Calling them ‘illegal’ is like the Holocaust
Is it worth paying more for college if the money goes to help undocumented immigrants?
Students at DePaul University, a Catholic institution, will put their values to the test in a referendum next week.
Two student groups that favor illegal immigration convinced the student government to add the resolution to the ballot. It would ask the administration to create a scholarship fund for undocumented students that would be funded by higher student activity fees.
The measure would ask DePaul to go far beyond the “sanctuary campus” movement, in which colleges including DePaul have publicly expressed their refusal to cooperate with the Trump administration’s enforcement of immigration laws.
DePaul’s tuition for the class entering the school this fall, not including housing, dining and general fees, is $38,410 for most students. It was $37,020 for students who entered last fall.
Leading advocate for scholarship: ‘FUCK TRUMP!’
Though DePaul’s administration and board of trustees would choose whether and how to implement an approved referendum, the school already provides “Resources for Serving Undocumented Students” on its Immigration page.
In a video interview with the Spanish-language Chicago newspaper Hoy, UVA President Larissa Rodríguez said “everyone should be able to go [to college] regardless of [legal] status or money.” She believes that advocates for the resolution will be able to overcome pushback and convince students to approve it.
UVA Vice President Adan Figueroa said the university “as a Vincentian institution … has a calling in servicing undocumented youth,” though it’s not clear whether he means minors or students who are 18 and up.
Figueroa’s Facebook cover image depicts a concrete wall graffitied with the phrase “FUCK TRUMP!”
Also in the Hoy video, Student Government Association Vice President Megan Scoville says students will vote on whether to pay an extra $2 each quarter in student activity fees that would fund the scholarships.
The DePaulia reported Sunday that the SGA voted “unanimously” for the referendum, which it compared to a $2.50-per-semester fee at nearby Loyola University Chicago, another Catholic institution, that funds a similar scholarship fund for undocumented students.
The paper cited UVA’s estimate that the higher fees would raise $79,000 for a scholarship fund. The scholarship would be implemented in the 2018-19 school year at the earliest if approved by the board.
Scoville, the vice president, confirmed to The College Fix Monday that the referendum will indeed appear on next week’s ballot for students to approve or reject. The text will read:
Each year, undocumented undergraduate students who do not have access to federal financial aid (FAFSA) undergo a financial gap often exceeding $17,000 (not including room and board).Should we support our fellow students who, like we, dream of obtaining an education from DePaul by creating a scholarship initiated by a $2 quarterly addition to our Student Activity Fee?
A scholarship up to $17,000?
UVA responded to critical comments on its Facebook post about the referendum before deleting the comments entirely Sunday night.
In one response, UVA scolds those who use the term “illegal immigrants or illegal undocumented individuals,” calling them “uninformed individuals that haven’t done research to understand how immigrant and undocumented populations should be addressed.”
Such immigrants are comparable to Holocaust victims, according to UVA’s response. It claims that “Jews and marginalized communities were labeled as illegal” during World War II, and that designation “led to their persecution and death of millions.”
In the since-deleted comment, UVA said the proposed scholarship was not a “slap in the face” to legal students, as another commenter said.
“Creating scholarships or funding opportunities helps close the financial gap of undocumented students that stretches from $4500-17,000, not including room and board,” it said. The comment isn’t clear on whether the proposed scholarship would cover that entire gap.
DePaul’s largest and “most prestigious” academic scholarship, the Presidential Scholarship, is $17,000-18,000.
The student government’s approval of a referendum that would “provide handouts for illegal aliens,” paid for by legal students, “sadly shows both the commitment this University holds to radical left-wing causes, as well its utter detachment from the vast majority of the student body,” CRs President John Minster wrote in a statement given to The Fix.
“Instead of using those tuition funds on actual legal American citizens, or perhaps even lowering tuition on the financially underwater student body” – students who have trouble paying for their educations – “they have chosen to promote another left-wing mascot at the behest of their own students,” Minster said.
“Evidently, they have learned nothing from our country’s most recent election,” he said: “Our tuition money must not go to illegal aliens.”
UPDATE: The student government’s vice president, Megan Scoville, confirmed to The Fix after publication that the referendum will indeed appear on next week’s ballot and provided the referendum text. The article has been amended accordingly.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The author is participating in a campaign against the referendum as a leader in the College Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom chapters at DePaul.