After initially being introduced on Jan. 25, 2017 to the Associated Students of Boise State University (ASBSU) Student Assembly, a Resolution to Protect Undocumented and DACA Broncos—proposed by Students Honoring Active Demarginalization Efforts (SHADES)—was brought back to the ASBSU Executive Council for a second time on Monday, Feb. 28 where it was passed by one vote.
After a long debate, the resolution was put to a vote. Three were in favor, three were against and one abstained—leaving the tie to be broken by ASBSU President Rebecca Kopp. Ximena Bustillo described the resolution’s stipulations in her Feb. 14 Arbiter article, “SHADES advocates for undocumented students,” when it was introduced to student assembly for the second time. The resolution failed its first time through the ASBSU Executive Council—with a tally of two in favor, five opposed—according to the Executive Council Minutes from Monday, Jan. 30.
Chandra Reyna, senior sociology major and one of three co-founders of SHADES, has not been surprised by the duration of discussion on this resolution.
“We were prepared for it to not gain traction,” Reyna said. “Unfortunately, we knew that it was going to be a tooth-and-nail fight to get this through (ASBSU) Student Assembly—which says a lot as it is.”
ASBSU Vice President Jade Donnelly said when SHADES reached out to create the resolution, it was important to her that ASBSU partnered with a group who stands for students’ safety.
“(The resolution passing is) showing a platform based on inclusion and diversity, and the importance of diverse opinions and the safety of all students,” Donnelly said. “Mostly moving forward it’s a really good platform and starting point to extend our diversity efforts.”
Donnelly said the split in voting does not mean ASBSU Executive Council members don’t support undocumented and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students.
“The split is interesting, because we’re both on the same side,” Donnelly said. “We want to do what’s best for students, we just saw it two different ways: what’s best for students is not endangering funding and what’s best for students is supporting their efforts. We are all pro-student, it’s just if you weighed the pros and cons.”
Senior criminal justice major and fellow co-founder of SHADES, Jese Robles, said most ASBSU Student Assembly and ASBSU Executive Council members are not directly affected by the issues addressed in the bill, resulting in a failure to understand the importance or timeliness involved in passing the resolution.
Other bills and resolutions presented to ASBSU Student Assembly go through with little opposition, unless they have a real-life impact—such as the DACA resolution—according to Reyna.
ASBSU Secretary of Academic Affairs, Olivia Rodriguez, voted against the resolution on its first time through, because she felt it was condescending to imply undocumented and DACA students were not already aware of their rights, and where they could go to get more information.
Others in opposition of the resolution, such as ASBSU Government Relations Officer Josh Scholer, said there could be serious long-term impacts now that the resolution has passed.
“My personal, individual opinion on the issue is different than my role as Government Relations Officer. I’ve said since day one my job is to responsibly advocate politically for almost 24,000 students,” Scholer said. “I fully stand behind our marginalized and underrepresented students, but I didn’t feel this resolution did enough to justify the amount of risk we take on when it comes to potential political ramifications.”
Scholer explained how some of the provisions are asking Boise State to not comply with federal immigration laws, such as Provision One, which asks for the prohibition of, “school funds or resources from furthering restrictive immigration laws that may prohibit current and future students from completing their education at Boise State,” according to the resolution.
Reyna said she feels the resolution is straightforward and that SHADES is not asking for any university policies to be changed, but for the Boise State campus to be educated about undocumented and DACA students having the same rights as U.S. citizens.
“I don’t think our tuition dollars should be used to deport other students,” Reyna said.
In reference to funding, Scholer said this is another aspect of the resolution which caused him to to vote in opposition. In its passing, the resolution will now be communicated to the Idaho State House of Representatives.
“I can’t guarantee funding will be lost, but I do know a lot of (the legislators) are looking for reasons to either reduce funding or completely get rid of funding, because they don’t believe that’s the state’s job,” Scholer said. “Regardless if that’s wrong or right, the reality is that is the state and country we live in—right, wrong or indifferent.”
Reyna said SHADES has considered the loss of funding, but does not think the Idaho Legislature can justify taking away funding from Boise State for acknowledging federal law. Reyna also discussed how all students—including undocumented students—would be affected if the University lost funding, which would be counterproductive to their hope of helping campus.
Scholer, as well as ASBSU President Rebecca Kopp, said the majority of the resolution’s provisions are actions already taking place. Scholer said he does not understand why Boise State needs to be making this statement and attracting unnecessary attention from the Statehouse and media outlets.
Though the resolution includes provisions addressing policies which are already instated at Boise State, Reyna does not see the harm in reaffirming these items in order to assure awareness of undocumented and DACA students’ rights. Reyna compared the resolution to the It’s On Us campaign and the Not Silent Because movement, saying most people on campus are aware sexual violence is illegal—yet the administration and students say it can’t hurt to remind people of this fact.
“(The resolution) is the same thing, but it seems like it’s a lot more controversial, because it’s a different population of people who are affected,” Reyna said.
Now that the Executive Council has passed the resolution, it will be communicated to President Kustra where he will decide whether or not to act on the statement.