UGA may vote to oppose state ban on illegal students

9:53 AM, Dec 1, 2011   |    comments
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An ACLU protest outside Board of Regents offices last year.

ATHENS, Ga. -- The University of Georgia is expected to vote Thursday on whether to oppose a new state policy that requires the school to turn away "undocumented residents" who apply for admission.

The University Council will consider whether to ask the state Board of Regents to reverse its policy requiring UGA and several other universities to turn away the students.

The council, made up of faculty and administrators, is weighing a petition signed by 87 UGA faculty members who say the ban "represents a step in the direction of resegregation of public education in our state."

At least three other UGA groups have passed resolutions opposing the policy, which was adopted after some state lawmakers threatened legislation that would prohibit admitting all students who are not U.S. citizens or who have student visas.

The Board of Regents settled on a compromise. The new policy, which went into effect at the beginning of the year, still allows illegal residents to attend state universities -- only if they qualify academically and only when they pay the higher, out-of-state tuition -- but they are not allowed to attend state universities that are full. UGA and four other big, popular state universities are full and have waiting lists of U.S. citizens trying to get in. As a result, no illegal residents are allowed at those universities, even if they have lived in Georgia since infancy and graduated from Georgia high schools with 4.0 grade point averages.  U.S. citizens have priority.

UGA President Michael Adams said Wednesday night that if the University Council votes in favor of the petition's demands, he will advise the Board of Regents that the Council is requesting the Regents to overturn the ban. Adams said that unless and until the Board of Regents overturns the ban, he will continue to enforce the law, and the policy, at UGA. 

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