Student senate passes resolution supporting undocumented students
Rachel O'Grady | Thursday, November 17, 2016
The Notre Dame student senate passed a resolution Wednesday evening to protect and empower undocumented students.
The resolution was brought forth by Dunne Hall senator Matthew Donohue.
“This resolution is a continuation of the [walk-out] movement, and we hope this statement of support can emphasize a lot of what they’ve talked about,” Donohue said. “This resolution — regardless of your views on immigration, this is particularly tailored to incidents of harassment, insults, stalking and abuse.”
Senators debated the issue for over an hour, bringing forth points regarding the legality of such a resolution.
“Are all of these things we are asking Fr. Jenkins to do legal?” Maria Palazzolo, a senator from McGlinn Hall, said. “If it is illegal, would that threaten federal funding? Are we putting students at risk if we support this?”
Palazzolo said she was disgusted that members of the Notre Dame community — specifically, students with DACA status — were being harassed as a result of the election. St. Edward’s Hall senator Corey Gayheart agreed.
“That takes a hell of a lot of courage: to put your lives on the line, the idea that your life as you know it could be ripped away,” Gayheart said of DACA students at Notre Dame. “Regardless of your political opinions, we are a Notre Dame family, and that’s what we stand for. I view anyone at Notre Dame as my brother, my sister, my family.”
Gayheart said the senators should consider what it would be like to be in the position of these DACA students during this time.
“We need to stand with them, stand for them. I think what we can do right now is take a very strong public stance in support of them,” Gayheart said. “This is more than your political views. This is their lives. Before you vote, put yourself in their shoes and see what you think.”
Student body president Corey Robinson said the University has a unique obligation, given its status as a Catholic institution.
“Notre Dame has the opportunity to go above and beyond what other institutions can do because of our status as a Catholic institution,” Robinson said. “None of us have law degrees, but Fr. John has an entire legal staff. He said that the University will do whatever it takes to support undocumented students, and I think he will have talked with his legal team, so we shouldn’t have any concerns regarding legalities.”
Pasquerilla East Hall senator Sammi Berley said senators should use this opportunity to voice their support for these DACA students.
“I just want to reiterate the purpose of this resolution — it is not a law, it is support,” Berley said. “It’s also about undocumented students, not about you. No decisions are really being made here.”