USGT calls for ICE/CBP notification committee, stands with Asian students amid xenophobia

Both resolutions came as reactions to recent controversial campus incidents

Undergraduate Student Government Tempe approved two resolutions this week to address controversial on-campus issues.

One resolution called for the formation of a committee to notify students when Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Customs and Border Patrol are invited to campus. The other asserted USGT's condemnation of racism towards Asian students in response to the coronavirus.

"The safety of all students is the utmost priority to the Undergraduate Student Government," College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Senator Bridget Saidu said when presenting the resolution.

Despite some controversy at the previous USGT meeting about the ICE/CBP resolution, the Senate passed a newly rewritten version of the legislation Tuesday night. Senators had previously decided to change the resolution's confusing wording.

This resolution was introduced in response to College Republicans United inviting an ICE official to speak at one of its meetings last November. The event sparked debates on campus about student safety and inclusion.

"We had been working on it for some time, and it was really important for us to let the undocumented and Latinx students on campus know that we value them and would do our best to have them feel safe," Saidu, a sophomore studying philosophy and justice studies, wrote in an email.

Barrett, The Honors College Senator Diane Solorio said this resolution is especially important because it sets a precedent of USGT working with ASU's seven identity-based coalitions. 

"I am very excited that this resolution finally passed through the Senate, especially because it received unanimous support," Solorio, a sophomore studying political science and public service and public policy, wrote in an email. "I hope we can continue writing and supporting legislation that offers support to all of our peers."

The resolution was co-signed by ASU organization El Concilio. According to their website, El Concilio "seeks to unite Latinx/Chicanx/Hispanic student organizations at ASU to represent our interests, needs and promote awareness of our culture within the ASU community."

The resolution said undocumented students or students under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals among the large immigrant community at ASU may be threatened by their presence on campus, and a notification committee could mitigate that.

Barrett Senator Megan Hall, a sophomore studying anthropology and psychology, and W.P. Carey School of Business Senator Jack Fuller, a junior studying economics and geography, said a balance must be struck between protecting immigrant students and maintaining ASU’s inclusive culture.

The senate also approved a resolution proclaiming solidarity with Asian students in the wake of incidents of racism and xenophobia relating to misconceptions about the novel coronavirus. 

READ MORE: Students report racism, xenophobia in wake of coronavirus concerns 

College of Integrative Sciences and Arts Senator Sebastian Patron-Soto, who wrote the resolution with Hall, said they are proud their resolution passed quickly.

"Racism, xenophobia and any other actions that make a student feel excluded from the greater ASU community are of serious concern to USGT, ASU's faculty and myself personally," said Patron-Soto, a senior interdisciplinary studies major, in an email. "We hope to continue to support our students who have been unfairly targeted and shown antisocial behavior."

Patron-Soto cited the statement from the Asian/Asian Pacific American Students’ Coalition addressing the racism and xenophobia displayed toward Asian students.

USGT resolved to advise students affected by incidents of racism, xenophobia or general campus tensions to reach out to ASU’s Counseling Services.

Senators discussed the importance of publicly standing in support of Asian and Pacific American students, and committed to publicly posting their statement of solidarity to social media before the end of the week.

Tevinh Nguyen, AAPASC president and senior majoring in Asian Pacific American studies and political science, said the club appreciates the statement from USGT and hopes the University administration will follow suit soon. 

Nguyen said University officials need to release "an official statement to the whole university and calling it what it is, a rise in racism and xenophobia and not just some uninformed behavior or isolated incidents." 

"We shouldn't even have to ask for a statement at this point," Nguyen said. "This is just a baseline of what we should be expecting with everything that’s been going on so far."

Both resolutions, though reflective of controversial on-campus incidents, passed with little discussion before the brief meeting’s adjournment.

Correction: A former version of this article incorrectly stated the Asian/Asian Pacific American Students’ Coalition's name. It has been updated to reflect that change. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @G_Mira_ on Twitter. 

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