SGA Senator Proposes Letter on DACA

Jacob Lawson, News Writer • jalawson16@ehc.edu

Senator Ally Pollard introduced a resolution regard- ing DACA to the SGA on Wednesday, October 11. The contents of the resolution were addressed to Senator Mark Warner, asking for his support on DACA.

According to Pollard, the intention “was to inform the campus community and allow them to participate if they wanted. We aren’t trying to sway anybody’s thoughts. But this is a real thing and it will affect a lot of people and we thought the campus should at least be discussing it.”

The letter was originally created by first-years Jackson Kaze and Joseph Jessee in Anne Shumaker’s Law and Society course.

Jessee said that the letter started because “in class, we were encouraged to develop an opinion on DACA when Trump decided to rescind President Obama’s Executive Order.”

Jackson Kaze wrote saying, “I disagreed with the repeal of DACA, and my teacher offered an idea that we could write a letter to our state senators.”

Part of the reason for Jessee’s involvement came from his personal experiences.

He said, “I come from a mixed family [with] two siblings that my parents adopted from Ethiopia at a young age.”

DACA became a concern for Jessee because of the “difficult process of gaining citizenship as well as contending with racial bias and unfair treatment” for his adopted siblings. Jessee said that the original plan to disseminate the letter “was to have Dean John Holloway email the letter to the student body as he possesses every student’s

email. He recommended we take it to the senate and gain their approval before moving forward with the letter.”

Additionally, SGA President Jordan Smith said that he told Pollard “it was not necessary to pass through the senate, but that it would be a strong plan of action for her to take gathering support from more voices and groups on campus.”

On the resolution itself, in attendance as a proxy senator for Senator Mary Eliza Hendricks, Joseph Johnson said that the senate approved the letter and that “there didn’t seem to be any pushback about sending the letter out to campus and engaging in a letter writing campaign.”

Smith said that the resolution passed and “has been warmly received from a majority of campus so we are happy we could show unison behind the letter.”

The only issue among the senate was whether or not the the resolution should keep Mark Warner’s name on the letter itself. Sophomore Joseph Johnson said, “we should keep it open-ended.” For instance, he said, “if I’m registered in Tennessee, I should be allowed to send it to my senator in Tennessee. If I’m registered in Texas, I should be allowed to send it to my senator in Texas. But the senate was very steadfast about keeping it exclusively focused [on] Senator Warner of Virginia.” Commuter

Senator Thomas Scott was one of the senators who preferred to keep Mark Warner’s name on the letter.

Scott said his reason was “because this institution [Emory and Henry College], which resides in the state. . . which Senator Warren represents, is distributing this letter.”

Scott was not opposed to the letter being used for other senators saying, “I made it very clear that I was not against others using it to send to the senators in their own states. I believe Senator Pollard called it a template, one which could be modified quite easily, to be used for any senator in this nation if a student so chooses.”

There is a clear importance to this letter, both from the senators and writers of the letter. Senator Matt Wingfield said that the letter is “an excellent opportunity for students to exercise their political rights by contacting their senators.”

 

Joseph Jessee said, “I implore the student body to not sit silently and use your voice to speak out against this injustice and fight for the values our country still represents.”

Pollard said, “I think the Senate passing this resolution shows that the student body wants to create a safe and welcoming campus.”

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