Opinions: Crow, ASU slapping state voters in face
ASU Web Devil
March 17, 2008


by TJ Shope http://www.asuwebdevil.com/issues/2008/03/17/opinions/704127

The issue of in-state tuition for illegal immigrant students has stirred much controversy on our campus and throughout the state. It should come as no surprise that there is controversy because Arizona voters, with over 70 percent of the vote I might add, thought they had dealt with the issue once and for all.

By now, we all know the story: Arizona State University, through the ASU Foundation, has been matching illegal immigrant students with donors to assist them with their out-of-state tuition. ASU President Michael Crow recently told The Arizona Republic, "We're just trying to be helpful to them because many of them are really great students."

With the above quote, Crow essentially admits that he doesn't care what the Arizona voters want and that he will do whatever he can to slap us in the face by helping illegal students essentially get something that legal students may not receive. On March 6, it was announced that the American Dream Fund Coalition had been formed and will be maintained by Chcanos Por La Causa and that the scholarship program for illegal students that was previously thought to be ending would instead be re-instituted.

While I'm sure that this is a dream come true for the students taking part in funding from the American Dream Fund Coalition, it's a nightmare situation for those of us who value Arizona's Constitution and its very democratic referendum process.

Although many would argue that ASU may not necessarily be in violation of the letter of the law, known by most of us as Proposition 300, because it is not using state money for these scholarships, it most certainly violates the spirit of the law by matching up illegal students with organizations like Chicanos Por La Causa in order to offer scholarships.

I would argue that ASU is in a possible violation of the law because it is evident from quotes from Crow and ASU's Vice President of Public Affairs, Virgil Renzulli, that ASU is intimately involved in securing donations from private donors for the scholarships for the illegal students. If nothing else, an investigation should be launched by the state into how much time and effort ASU officials are spending on securing private monies for this program.

But before I'm hung on campus by leftists who will call me a racist, allow me to say that I don't mind private donors providing money for illegal immigrant students through scholarships. What I have a problem with is one of Arizona's highest-paid state employees seemingly thumbing his nose at the voters of our great state by encouraging the linking of donors with illegal immigrant students with one hand while the other hand collects a paycheck from hardworking taxpayers. ASU should not be working behind the scenes to link donors with illegal immigrant students and should have no involvement whatsoever with the American Dream Fund Coalition.

If there is one constant theme from both parties in this year's election process, it's that the voters aren't listened to after they've spoken. The Arizona voters spoke overwhelmingly in the 2006 election, and, out of respect for us, I ask you to end our university's involvement with any programs that may benefit illegal immigrant students, even if your administration is only peripherally involved.

T.J. Shope is enjoying the last gasp of winter before the hell known as an Arizona summer begins. He can be reached at: thomas.shope@asu.edu.