This past month has been a trying time for the county. After going through one of the most difficult elections in recent history, the country elected a man who has vowed to change America. One of the cornerstones of Donald Trump’s election campaign was to end any support of undocumented immigrants in this country. He vowed to deport all undocumented immigrants in this country no matter how long they have been here. The UConn’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) started working to keep that from happening.
On Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, USG passed a bill that would work towards making UConn a sanctuary city. The bill was passed 35-6 and with one abstention. For those who aren’t aware, a sanctuary city is a location that works to make life for immigrants easier and passes laws that protests the immigrants no matter if they are undocumented or not.
USG is responsible for advocating for student interests on campus and for providing a voice for students in the governing of the university. If the turnout at the Nov. 9 Rally for the People is anything to go by, the student body is very much behind the bill. By passing this bill, USG has continued to do the job that they were elected to do.
During the presentation of the bill numerous speakers from the community came forward to speak about why USG should pass the bill. One statement that seemed to remain true between all of those speakers was that at the end of the day all people at UConn share one common goal: they are all huskies.
Everyone has heard the statement, “Students today, Huskies forever.” For a lot of people that quote is just a quote, but it can have a little more meaning that. As the speakers said, everyone at this school is a Husky, no matter what their immigration status or what their political believes.
And with that Husky status comes something else, a right to learn. Everyone at this school has gotten in on their own merit. They have proven that they are worthy of getting an education here at UConn. No president should have the ability to take that away.
Many will say that this bill is fairly useless. Many will say that USG has no real power on campus. Those people are wrong. Every single semester, the student body elects people who will govern them for the next year. While many students don’t place a lot of faith in USG, they should know that the senators and members of the USG care about being the voice of students and more than that care about the wellbeing of the students that elected them into power. As I said earlier, USG has a duty to advocate for students. They are the bridge between the University Senate, President Herbst and the students. USG has as much power as the students give them and right now they are giving USG the power to fight for their ability to remain as students.
Reading the comments of The Daily Campus article about the bill will show that people are worried that if the university passes a similar bill than students and the university will lose access to federal money. In fact, I’m willing to bet that it is the same reason that those seven senators voted against the bill or abstained from voting. It is certainly the reason that CLAS senator Michael Lanza voted against the measure. It is a fair argument against the bill. After all, the only reason state schools are so affordable is because of the money that they receive from the government. Access to federal money also allows people who normally would not be able to afford college actually attend.
If Trump starts his crusade, it won’t matter who wants to go to college. Trump will be deciding who is allowed to receive a college education and who isn’t. That power is not something that should be granted to a random person. It has always been in the power of the university to determine admission and removal. The making of UConn into a sanctuary city will allow for that to happen.
Walking through campus, the average student would not be able to point out who is undocumented and who isn’t. At the end of the day, we are all huskies moving towards the same goal of graduating with a degree from the UConn. USG’s start to make UConn a sanctuary city will allow that goal to take place and it’s something that all of us should support as UConn Huskies.