Multiple senate resolutions, including one to push the University to adopt sanctuary status for undocumented students, were proposed during a USG meeting on Tuesday.
During the meeting, Sen. Michaela Murphy proposed the Sanctuary University Resolution, which advocates that USC change to an official sanctuary campus, one that adopts policies to protect undocumented immigrants in its student body.
Provost Michael Quick wrote in a memo to students on March 5, 2018 that the University has expressed its support for immigrant students, including DACA recipients, but does not have specific policies in place to protect such students.
“[It] can’t just be an informal conversation or an informal policy,” Murphy said. “It needs to be explicit, especially so that undocumented students and students with mixed immigrations status know for a fact, they know outright, that this university will protect them.”
The resolution specified that the University should prevent the Department of Public Safety from collaborating with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and avoid collecting citizenship documents from students unless absolutely needed.
Sen. Murphy also read aloud the VKC Flag Resolution, which seeks to increase the number of flags hung in and around the Von KleinSmid Center to better represent international students.
The resolution was authored by Yusuf Irshaad, a senior majoring in international relations and Middle East studies, Amanda Chan, a junior majoring in economics, and George Zeidan, a graduate student majoring in nonprofit leadership and management.
All three authors are members of USC Students for Justice in Palestine, a pro-Palestinian student activist group. Palestine is not represented in the 108 flags that hang outside of VKC. Irshaad said this partly inspired the resolution, which he said is not officially authored by SJP, as well as a general lack of international representation in VKC’s flags.
According to USC’s Undergraduate Admission website, 135 countries are represented in the USC student body.
“When you go to VKC, you look around, there are open spaces that could definitely benefit from having those flags hung up,” Irshaad said. “There’s a lot of room to work with that.”
The resolution suggests using open areas in VKC as additional spaces for flags, such as along the exterior, as well as the VKC library.
Sen. Jacquelyne Tan proposed the Learning Experience Evaluations Resolution, which aims to introduce a moderated system for USC students to access course evaluations. The resolution intends to replace sites like RateMyProfessors.com, a site used by students to publicly rate their professors on teaching ability and class difficulty, among other factors.
Tan spoke about the biased nature of comments against female professors and professors of color on sites like RateMyProfessors.com, which she said prompted her to push for an alternative solution that USC students can rely on.
According to Tan, until Quick stepped into his position in 2014, students were able to access course evaluations through the Office of the Provost’s website.
“I want it to be a USC platform and [for it] to be moderated by qualified people,” Tan said. “Some of the comments on ‘RateMyProfessors’ are extremely toxic and there is proven racial and gender bias.”
In addition to the three proposals, a minor technical amendment was made to the Terranea Resolution, which was passed during the last USG meeting on March 5. The resolution is now awaiting review by the Graduate Student Body and the University administration.
All resolutions proposed during the meeting will be voted on at next week’s meeting.