QU Constitution Day opens discussion about immigration
By Reggie Austin
Constitution day has become a mainstay at Quincy University. The day serves as a holiday to showcase opinions on current issues. Students and faculty filed into the Hall of Fame room to hear this year’s hypothetical proposal. The floor was open to any and all comments. Participants were provided a fact sheet that answered general questions about immigration as well as giving facts and statistics.
The discussion this year was centered around immigration and the persecution of undocumented immigrants. The tables were given roles that would be influential in the proposal like political parties, law enforcement, the government and federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) just to name a few.
Some of the highlighted issues listed on the fact sheet were:
- What is a sanctuary city?
- Do undocumented immigrants commit more crimes?
- What does the Constitution have to say about immigration?
- Are there any sanctuary jurisdictions in Illinois?
- Is the population of undocumented immigrants on the rise?
Associate Professors Neil Wright and Judy Abbott fueled the exchanges between the groups, poking at the root of the issue. The first question to start it off, should Quincy become a sanctuary city?
Abbott posed some thought provoking with her inquiries while passing other tables.
“How many generations removed are you from being an immigrant? Who are we to say who belongs here and who doesn’t?” Abbot asked.
Students at this year’s Constitution Day were very open as time progressed, more students expressed their personal opinions on the matter.
The once transparent atmosphere shifted to a class-like environment, with other students and faculty chiming in with new information.
Michael Keller, assistant professor of English, offered his insight in a few words when the conversation leaned toward following the law.
“Systemic abuse needs to stop, look at the Stanford Prison Experiment. People do not know what they will do in a position of power, especially when it deals with others and their lives,” Keller said.
Other students left for sports practice or left because they did not want to be a part of the discussion.
Omari Wheeler is a senior at Quincy University shared his thoughts on Constitution Day.
“There were so many different view points and opinions,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler expressed his viewpoint on the discussion saying it felt like a difference in “principles and values.” He also noted that the responses were not approving of the idea of immigration close to home.
Wheeler went on to say he wants to see more discussions on campus.
“They should do more events like these, especially on gun violence and scholarships but I doubt we are actually ready to have that conversation,” Wheeler said.
Bryce Johnson is another senior at Quincy University. He shared his observations about the event.
“My biggest takeaway from it is probably more people need a sense of security in the U.S.” Johnson said.
He also welcomed the idea of more open forums for students.
“Things like this should be used to learn more information, at least for younger people. It should be student lead.”