Administrators at California State University’s Fresno campus may have been so anxious to pass the federal DREAM Act that they did not question the legality of the actions of the Student Body president promoting it, a self-described student activist claimed.
In a letter to Fresno State president Dr. John Welty dated January 3, Neil O’Brien sought information on:
1. “Anything related to discussing or determining whether it is legal for an illegal alien to hold the position of [Associated Students, Inc.] ASI president. Including the university’s written policy and procedures about this.
2. “Anything related to discussing or determining whether it was legal for Pedro Ramirez (who claims to be in the country illegally) to establish a PAC (527 political organization) called CSU Fresno College Democrats that the school has allowed Mr. Ramirez to operate as a campus club since 2008.
3. “The school’s policy that exempts Illegal aliens from unlawful behavior within campus jurisdiction. Including the university’s written policy that allows the school’s bylaws and policy to trump federal and [sic] State immigration laws.
4. “Anything related to discussing or determining the legality or ethics of Pedro Ramirez’s involvement in voter registration drives on campus and through his involvement and association with CSUF College Democrats, ASI, CSSA, and the Fresno County Democratic Committee.
5. “Anything related to discussing or determining the safety, liability, or insurance aspects of whether people who cannot lawfully drive should be allowed to operate a motor vehicle [on] school property. Please also include the university policy about illegal aliens driving motor vehicles on campus.
6. “Anything related to discussing the controversy following Pedro Ramirez’s announcement that he is in the country illegally and how that might impact his status as ASI president.
7. “Anything related to discussing or determining whether you (Dr. Welty) should continue to support Pedro Ramirez despite his announcement that he is in the country illegally. Please include information about internal investigations (if any) that have occurred since these issues were brought to your attention.
8. “Anything related to discussing or determining whether you should continue to support Pedro Ramirez despite discoveries first brought to your attention by me (Neil O’Brien).
9. “ All communications between all the following parties, consultants, attorneys, Pedro Ramirez, ASI, Administration that deal with or discuss anything related to the controversy prior to, or following Pedro Ramirez’s announcement that he is in the country illegally.
10. “Anything related to discussing whether discoveries first brought to your attention by me might impact Mr. Ramirez’s status as ASI president.
11. “All notes and agendas from all ASI meetings (including closed door meetings) that have taken place since the ASI president announced that he is in the country illegally. This includes the ASI meetings held on December 22, 2010 in room 316.
12. “Anything related to paying, benefits received or provided, gifts, etc. for Pedro Ramirez, you, Dr [Paul] Oliaro, or the school to support or lobby for the DREAM Act or any other legislation or regulation.”
O’Brien claims that Dr. Welty has not answered his letter. Thus far, he hasn’t answered my e-mail either.
Dr. Welty did address the question of Ramirez’s immigration status in a statement he released last November. “After his election, he personally notified me and ASI advisers about his immigration status, and volunteered to serve without pay as president, since his status does not allow him to receive a paycheck,” Dr. Welty stated. “I commend Mr. Ramirez and other AB 540 students who are following state statute as they seek higher education.”
Ramirez, a senior double majoring in Agricultural Economics and Politics, is 22. O’Brien, who hopes to become a park ranger, is a 27-year-old senior recreation major at Fresno State.
The Fresno Bee, which has given Ramirez sympathetic coverage and O’Brien considerably less than favorable exposure, would not print O’Brien’s letter, he says.
Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.
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