ATLANTA (AP) — University of Georgia President Michael Adams said Thursday the campus will continue to follow a state policy banning illegal immigrants from enrolling despite a vote by faculty and staff calling for its repeal.
The university’s faculty and staff council voted to urge the Board of Regents to overturn the policy. The vote is largely symbolic and does not change the UGA administration’s enforcement of the statewide rule.
“The policy burdens institutions with political issues that are aimed at less than one-quarter of a percent of our student population, diverts admissions resources and denies high-achieving Georgia high school graduates the chance to compete with out-of-state and international students for admission,” the resolution states.
Adams said as with all university council votes, he will forward the resolution to the Board of Regents “without comment.” The UGA student council passed a similar resolution recently.
“The university of Georgia will follow all state laws and rules, as well as regents’ policy. That’s pretty much the whole story from where I sit,” Adams said in a call with reporters before Thursday’s vote.
“Is the student government and the council within their rights to move a resolution like this forward? Yes, they are. We will try to make sure everyone gets heard on the issue.”
The policy, adopted last fall, bars any state school or university that has rejected an academically qualified applicant in the prior two years from accepting illegal immigrants. It only applies to five campuses: the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, Georgia Health Sciences University and Georgia College & State University.
Illegal immigrants can still attend any of the system’s other 30 schools, as long as they pay out-of-state tuition.
Regents chairman Ben Tarbutton referred all comments to university system spokesman John Millsaps.
“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 in a prepared statement.
The Regents conducted a study last year amid public concerns that Georgia state colleges and universities were being overrun by illegal immigrants, taxpayers were subsidizing their education and legal residents were being displaced. The study found that less than 1 percent of the state’s public college students were illegal immigrants, and that students who pay out-of-state tuition more than pay for their education.
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