ATHENS, Ga. -- A group that represents the University of Georgia faculty called on the state Board of Regents on Thursday to end a policy barring undocumented students from UGA and four other Georgia public universities.
“(The policy) tarnishes the state’s and the (University System of Georgia’s) national reputations by setting us apart from the inclusive practices of our peer and aspiring institutions, thus making it more difficult to recruit and retain faculty and students,” according to the resolution approved by the UGA University Council on Thursday.
The ban also violates the regents’ own principles of nondiscrimination, creates unnecessary administrative chores and denies the principle of admission based on academic qualifications, according to the resolution. The council is the university’s highest legislative body, a mostly-elected group of faculty and administrators that advises the UGA president on academic policy and other issues.
The council voted overwhelming in favor of the resolution, despite the warnings of some members that UGA could feel political repercussions if the council opposed the regents’ ban.
The policy is an almost exact copy of one passed earlier this fall by the faculty senate of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, UGA’s largest academic unit. The College of Education’s faculty senate and the university’s Student Government Association have also come out against the policy.
The regents don’t plan to reconsider their October 2010 vote, however.
Even before the council voted, regents spokesman John Millsaps had prepared a statement of the board’s position.
The board has no plans to change the policy, according to Millsaps’ statement. “The Board acted in October 2010 and the policy has been in place. While individuals and groups are free to express opinions, currently there are no plans for the board to take up this issue again,” he said.
The regents approved the ban after state legislators threatened to enact laws that would prohibit undocumented students from attending any of Georgia’s 35 public colleges and universities.
The regents’ policy bars those students only from selective Georgia colleges that have so many applicants, they must turn away academically qualified students: UGA, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Georgia College and State University, and the Georgia Health Sciences University.
Adams promised to forward the resolution to the regents, but said he would not disobey the rules.
The council voted against another resolution opposing the undocumented student ban.
That resolution, a petition signed by nearly 90 faculty members, called the regents policy “a step toward re-segregation.” Some council members said those words were too strong and stretched the meaning of the word segregation.