Dear Rutledge “Rusty” Griffin Jr., Neil L. Pruitt Jr., and the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia:
We, the undersigned, oppose the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia’s decision to ban undocumented students from the state’s most selective universities, including the University of Georgia, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, the Medical College of Georgia, and Georgia College & State University. We respectfully ask Mr. Griffin and Mr. Pruitt to present Policy 4.1.6 for a re-vote.
Policy 4.1.6 contravenes the Board’s mission of promoting “cultural, racial, ethnic and gender diversity” and “the ideals of an open, democratic, and global society.” The ban on undocumented students represents a step towards the motives of re-segregation and exclusion that exacerbate xenophobia. Barring Georgia's high school graduates and limiting them to separate and unequal educational facilities tarnishes the state’s reputation and squanders the talent of hopeful individuals.
Throughout our lives, our teachers, public servants, families, and communities have told us that education is the quintessential vehicle for overcoming life challenges and poverty. In the classroom, we develop the consciousness and skills to become contributing and productive members of society. Stripping youth of an education puts students and the state at risk. This policy destroys dreams, and cripples Georgia’s future.
We urge Mr. Griffin and Mr. Pruitt to call for a re-vote of Policy 4.1.6. On November 8th, 2011, we presented thousands of petitions to this board demanding that the ban on undocumented students be overturned. We ask that you listen to the people urging you not to bar access to education.
Injustice has long-term societal consequences, and we understand from history that it takes decades, and sometimes centuries, to recover from the ills of the past. Please rescind the ban on undocumented students, and ensure that all Georgians have equal access to higher education, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, creed, or immigration status.
Please check out this video, where Keish Kim of the Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance (GUYA) speaks in front of a committee of the BOR, urging them to rescind the ban.