From the desk of the Student Body President…
A petition to make Texas State University a Sanctuary Campus has been brought to the attention of the Student Government and University administration. This petition calls for “actively and vigilantly protecting Texas State’s most vulnerable populations” as well as declaring “Texas State University a sanctuary for undocumented students, workers, and community members.”
It is unequivocally my duty as Student Body President to foster an environment of safety on our campus. I condemn any form of violence or intimidation which may occur on our campus. I envision a campus that embodies the shared values to which we all committed when we chose Texas State—a campus that is open to the free exchange of ideas, opinions, and ideologies. Any notion of violence toward our students, or any notion that incites fear in our students, is not and will not be tolerated at Texas State. Our University is better than that.
Those elected to govern must do so responsibly. Responsible governance means advocating for increased protection for those who are or feel as though they have been marginalized. Responsible governance means providing all students with equal access to resources and pushing for the expansion and addition to the resources we possess in accordance with emerging needs. Responsible governance is working toward adequate representation of opposing sides and coming together to work toward an acceptable compromise. Responsible governance is not advocating a regulation which would be unfeasible to implement due to the dangers it poses to intergovernmental relations. The Cabinet of Student Government cannot support, at this time and in its current form, the petition before us to make Texas State University a Sanctuary Campus.
The Cabinet—and indeed, the whole of Student Government—does not agree with the creation of laws that incite legitimate fear amongst the many students of our university. However, we cannot act at odds with the laws of the State of Texas and the United States of America. As an institution chartered by the legislature of the State of Texas, a state subjected to the Supremacy Clause and all other provisions of the United States Constitution, a direct defiance of existing law would be against our very nature. That is not to say we cannot express discontent when the legislature of either acts against us, but we must not support a direct violation of the law.
We will do all we can to make every member of our Bobcat family feel safe on campus. That is—and always has been—our goal. We will continue to support any initiative that fosters diversity and inclusion at our university. We have implemented a dialogue series, Bobcats United, which brings together opposing views for the purpose of engaging and observing respectful discourse. We have passed legislation which calls attention to invaluable resources like the Counseling Center at our university. We have repeatedly worked with high-level administration to represent what we have personally heard from students. We have responded decisively when events have occurred that threaten the unity of our campus community.
In the near future, we will be presenting legislation that advocates the hiring of an immigration attorney within the Attorney for Students office at Texas State to help those, at little to no charge, who feel that they are in need of legal help. Further, we will establish diversity and outreach liaisons within Student Government to better understand the needs of those who often feel they are not heard. We have been hard at work advocating for students, and we intend to continue these efforts.
Those are the actions of a responsible government. As representatives for the students, we must identify realistic solutions to solvable problems. We owe our students more than lip service. We owe them legitimate, responsible action. This petition pays no mind to the fact that the implementation of a Sanctuary Campus policy at Texas State would do more harm than good. Indeed, Governor Greg Abbott has since responded to the issue, threatening to cut funding for any campus that institutes such a policy.
Instead of violating legitimate law and inhibiting Texas State’s efforts to help students in need (mentioned, in part, in this letter), we encourage all who are passionate about the issue to engage in the law-making process with greater devotion. The Student Government is happy to help students connect with law-makers and support student opinions, but will not stand for actions that threaten our institution’s legitimacy.
Now is the time to come together and have difficult discussions. We affirm that when we come together and engage we are strongest. Quoting scripture, Abraham Lincoln warned our nation that “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” His words bear even greater importance today. We ask all Bobcats to watch out for one another, be respectful of diverse opinions, and remember that we are one united community.