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UGA Council Nixes Regents' Policy on Immigrants as Unfair

The University Council urges the Board of Regents to rescind the policy preventing undocumented high schoolers from applying to selective public colleges.

After lively, impassioned debate, the University Council voted overwhelmingly Thursday to ask the Board of Regents to reconsider a policy that violates rules about non-discrimination.

They want the Regents to lift a rule that bans undocumented high school students from applying to the state's five selective institutions. These include UGA, Georgia Tech, Georgia State, Georgia College and State University and the Georgia Health Sciences University.

The faculty was "within their rights to do what they did," said UGA President Michael Adams, who's meeting with Chancellor Hank Huckaby on Friday. "They debated the issue thoroughly and then reacted and voted."

The resolution that passed is modeled largely on one adopted unanimously in early October by the Faculty Senate of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Its language is less confrontational and accusatory than that used in a petition that garnered thousands of signatures on campus.

A resolution condemning the Regents ban had been adopted weeks ago by the UGA Student Government Association. Logan Krusac, an SGA senator, capably filled the role of emcee at Thursday's meeting, explaining to a crowded auditorium why the Regents policy is flawed, why their reasons for the ban are misguided, why it's bad for business and why "opposing this ban will make the University of Georgia, and the State of Georgia, a better place."

Krusac said the Regents erred in not talking to students about the issue of undocumented high schoolers coming to UGA and other universities. Those students haven't broken laws -- their parents brought them to America when they were young. No one cares about whether someone has papers or doesn't, he said, and "no one was wearing a scarlet U. This wasn't a divisive issue until the Board of Regents made it so."

The few undocumented students -- only .16 percent of all students in the University System, Krusac said -- who do attend public college in Georgia pay out-of-state tuituion, which helps pay for the education of the in-state students.

After the vote, Krusac said he didn't think the resolution would necessarily change anything for the Regents, who told him they were going to disregard the University Council's action, regardless.

"The peope will pay attention," he said. "The key is we're going to speak with one voice and make a statement."

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