USF student Senate recommends undocumented Florida residents get in-state tuition rate

11/13/13 Seán Kinane
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:
Tags: immigration, USF, Tampa, SDS


Gage Lacharite and Marisol Márquez.

photo by Seán Kinane / WMNF News

The Student Senate at the University of South Florida is recommending to the school’s Board of Trustees that undocumented immigrants living in Florida receive in-state tuition.

The Senate voted Tuesday night on a resolution supported by Students for a Democratic Society, or SDS.

WMNF interviewed Marisol Márquez, a member of Raices en Tampa and Gage Lacharite, a USF student and president of SDS.

(Gage Lacharite:)

"This is just another SU meeting however this SU meeting they passed a resolution that they would support the board of trustees voting on in-state tuition for undocumented students at USF."

And that measure passed the student Senate. What would happen next? I guess this is just a recommendation made to the board of trustees?

"Yes. The board of trustees is meeting on December 5. SDS, I'm the president of SDS, we are going to be trying to pack the house to pressure the board of trustees to pass this."

What's the issue here? Why do these undocumented students, who live in Florida, why do they not get in-state tuition already?

"Basically, at USF there is no protocol for undocumented students. They simply just don't have the documentation that would give them in-state tuition. And so because of that they have to pay out of state tuition even though they've already contributed to the funding of the school."

Because they're parents and themselves, if they have jobs are paying state taxes.

"Yeah, they pay property taxes and sales taxes."

What were some of the arguments against this?

"There weren't really arguments against it. Mostly people were just arguing to delay the vote until people had had a chance to fully digest it."

(Marisol Marquez:)

"There was one person who got up and stated 'well what about other students that aren't Florida residents, why isn't it being extended to these students?' And it's like 'well, if you actually understand what this resolution says' it would just basically mean that those that are Florida residents, who have grown up in Florida, they're just not with the status, they're the ones that are going to get this in-state tuition instead of having to pay three times as much. So, it was just a silly argument."

The students that have this documentation that was given to them two years ago by President Obama, that's given them the idea that they won't be deported, but it hasn't given them the right, for example, to get in-state tuition. What's the ultimate thing that SDS would be asking for?

(Gage Lacharite:)

"We would like in-state tuition for all undocumented students that are in Florida, however right now the laws that have been passed, the law that this is based around, which is, it's been passed in 18 states including Texas, Illinois, New York, California which along with Florida constitute the majority of potential DOCA applicants and probably the majority of undocumented people as well."

What's happening at other Florida universities?

"FIU passed this very same bill in June. They passed it in June, the board of trustees voted on it. And then at the same time last night at the University of Florida, our sister chapter a Gainesville SDS, they also passed this in their student government."

Wednesday afternoon SDS is planning an unrelated demonstration in Temple Terrace in support of imprisoned Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh.

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