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Prospective students weighed more than just tuition rates and academic programs when choosing a university this year. For some, Arizona’s new immigration law became a deciding factor.

ASU spokeswoman Sharon Keeler said in an e-mail that about two dozen students called the admissions office after Senate Bill 1070 was signed into law April 23 and said they were withdrawing their applications for enrollment. However, the exact number of applicants who withdrew remains unclear.

The overall number of freshman applicants to ASU increased this year compared to last. Thirty-two thousand applied for fall 2009, and more than 35,000 applied for this semester.

The number of freshmen accepted also increased by more than 200 students.

UA also saw prospective students turn away because of the law.

A week after Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law, UA President Robert Shelton wrote a memo to the university’s faculty and staff.

“The families of a number of out-of-state students (to date all of them honors students) have told us that they … will be sending their children to universities in other states,” Shelton wrote.

The memo went on to state that UA must continue to respect and make foreign students feel welcome.

However, Shelton’s memo did not provide a specific number of students who decided to withdraw.

SB 1070 also had some effect on faculty recruitment at ASU.

“Between 15 and 20 candidates withdrew in protest of the new immigration law,” Keeler said. “The University, however, had 5,000-plus applicants for nearly 100 open positions.”

ASU President Michael Crow wrote a letter to Brewer the day the bill was signed, cautioning that the bill would make Arizona seem unfriendly to both current and potential residents, as well as international travelers.

“This projection of a hostile environment will seriously and negatively affect the state’s potential for economic development, its current economic activity and the existing civil environment,” Crow wrote.

Melissa Dickman, a theater and performance of the Americas graduate student, said part of being a successful student depends on whether students feel the University is supporting who they are.

“What happens when you come to a university in a state where that state tells you that your existence is illegal?” Dickman said. “Even if it doesn’t greatly impact enrollment, it could impact student success.”

She said students could find it difficult to graduate or assimilate into a campus culture if they are constantly being told they don’t belong.

“How can you succeed when you’re up against those factors?” Dickman said.

On July 28, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton blocked certain provisions of the law from taking effect. They could still take effect pending the outcome of the U.S. Justice Department’s lawsuit against the state of Arizona.

Bolton’s ruling eliminated several key provisions of the law, including requiring police officers to check a suspect’s immigration status when there was reasonable suspicion the person was in the country illegally, making it a state crime for an immigrant’s failure to apply for or carry registration papers and making it a state crime for illegal immigrants to solicit, apply for or perform work.

To help prevent racial profiling, the Tempe Police Department went through training before the SB 1070 and its amendments went into effect.

According to an e-mail from Tempe Police Sgt. Steve Carbajal, every police officer attended a three-and-a-half-hour training session.

In this training, all officers watched a video created by the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board, Carbajal said.

Tempe Police officers were also given information on what forms of identification were acceptable and a guide to various U.S. travel documents.

After provisions of SB 1070 were removed by a federal court ruling, the Tempe Police Department’s enforcement policy was revised as well, Carbajal said.

ASU Police went through a similar four-hour training session where they watched the same training video as Tempe Police and were given a presentation by their legal advisers on the implementation of the law. However, the training was on portions of the law that were prevented from going into effect.

“Our officers went through a bunch of training for nothing at this point,” Asst. ASU Police Chief Jay Spradling said.

He said ASU Police would enforce the law on campus the same way every other police officer in Arizona was required to implement the law, but because most of the law was put on hold, there wasn’t much left to enforce.

“Police are not doing a whole lot with the law right now,” he said. “Two small parts are still in use, but they don’t apply to a campus setting.”

Carly Price, a journalism sophomore, said she doesn’t think the law will have much effect on students because of how much of the law was blocked.

“I don’t think it’ll directly affect students except … causing [them] to voice their opinions about something that they don’t understand,” Price said.

The Repeal Coalition is an Arizona advocacy group that supports the elimination of all anti-immigration laws in Arizona. NAU graduate Chris Griffin, a volunteer with the group in Flagstaff, said even if the entire bill is repealed, the law still has created an atmosphere that says Arizonans should blame and hate undocumented families.

“That atmosphere interferes with everyday life, including education,” Griffin said. “We need to learn to build a society, a state and a campus where everyone has the same ability to live and love and learn.”

Reach the reporters at ymgonzal@asu.edu and connor.radnovich@asu.edu


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