Monday, October 29, 2007

UW Regent resigns in protest over Doyle's denial of tuition breaks to undocumented students

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Friday:

Jesus Salas, a Bay View resident who was appointed by Gov. Jim Doyle to the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents in 2003, this morning resigned from the board because of a Doyle policy decision on tuition for undocumented students.

Here is the text of Salas' resignation letter to the governor:

"The following is to inform you of my immediate resignation from the UW-System Board of Regents. I find that your retreat from your support in the 2007-09 UW-System budget for tuition remission for qualified students who happen to be children of undocumented workers as intolerable.

"It follows your signing the Real I. D. legislation which prevents the same population from obtaining a driver license. In spite of the fact that Latino leaders proposed alternative options that other states were following in dealing with this federal unfunded mandate, you proposed no legislative alternative.

"Earlier you also capitulated to extremists by signing legislation that denied WI's housing agency from assisting those same hardworking individuals who were gainfully employed and otherwise satisfied all banking requirements. You did this while knowing that during the time that this window of opportunity was available there was never a known default of any of the loans made.

"Finally, in spite of the fact that Latinos share the same fundamental values that brought generations of European immigrants in the same manner to Wisconsin, it is only we who are 'illegal.' Everyday there are those, individuals as well as representatives of communities as a whole, including state entities who are contriving ways to further deprive us of our U.S. Constitutional rights to life and liberty. There is a daily deterioration in the quality of life for the Latino both for the undocumented as well as those of us who were born here.

"Today, I refuse to join you in celebrating the signing of the 2007-09 WI budget. For us, it is day of mourning for the future of our children who through no fault of their own continue to be denied access to the UW-System."

Salas' biography on the regents' Web site says he taught social studies at Milwaukee Area Technical College for 18 years before retiring in December 2005, and that he has also taught Chicano/Latino studies courses at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee. He is a graduate of UW-Milwaukee's School of Education and received his masters in political science from UW-Madison.