SCC President Opposes Illegal Aliens Decision
Dr. John Dempsey, president of Sandhills Community Col-lege, disagrees with a decision to forbid undocumented immigrants from entering curriculum degree programs.
The North Carolina Com-munity College System an-nounced last week that it will no longer admit individuals classified as illegal or undocumented immigrants into curriculum degree programs.
"The 58 presidents of the 58 community colleges, to my knowledge, were not consulted on this decision," Dempsey said. "Had I been consulted, I would have voted against it."
The move by the community college system was a response to advice from state Attorney General Roy Cooper's office.
"We asked the attorney general's office for clarification of our present policy and will abide by their advice," said R. Scott Ralls, president of the state community college system in a release. "We will continue to be a primary source of economic advancement for the state by providing world-class education and work force training to every student eligible to enroll."
The ruling does not apply to undocumented individuals currently enrolled in state community colleges. Students admitted under the earlier directive will be allowed to continue their program of study at the out-of-state tuition rate.
Dempsey said the argument that an undocumented immigrant would take up space that otherwise would be used by a citizen is "preposterous." He said the decision to forbid undocumented immigrants from pursuing a degree was discriminatory and against the mission of the college.
"We are here to serve all the people," Dempsey said.
Sandhills Community College has four students enrolled who are undocumented immigrants. All four, according to SCC administration, have declared majors. One is in nursing, another in architectural technology, one in medical laboratory technology and one in automotive technology.
"They are challenging themselves," said Susanne Adams, SCC vice president of student services. "These are very difficult majors in a wide variety of subjects."
In a May 6 letter, the attorney general's office advised the state community college system to return to the directive that prohibits undocumented students from taking curriculum degree classes. That memo places no restriction on high school students taking any community college classes or on any adult who seeks noncollege level courses which include GED, adult high school, English as a second language, and continuing education classes.
"We have accepted the attorney general's offer to seek federal clarification of this issue, and they are pursing that information," Ralls said in the news release. "Until we receive further clarification, we will no longer admit individuals classified as illegal or undocumented immigrants into curriculum degree programs."
A survey of the colleges for the 2006-2007 academic year indicated that 112 of the 296,540 curriculum degree students lacked proper residency documentation. In that survey SCC had two students enrolled without proper residency.
Contact Tom Embrey at 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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