The Student Government Association (SGA) hosted “Clashing Values” this Tuesday, a forum-styled discussion concerning topics such as: the building of a 2000-mile wall on the border of Mexico and the United States, the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, and the proposed travel ban on anyone trying to enter the United States from Muslim majority countries.
The forum was put on behalf of the Social Justice and Advocacy Committee of the Student Government Association. President of SGA David Barrera stated that the purpose of the meeting “is meant to generate discussion and address some of the issues surrounding some of the policies and rhetoric of the Trump administration.”
The association welcomed many speakers from the TAMUK community to lead the discussion. Members included Chief Felipe Garza (head of the University police), Dr. Terisa Riley (Senior Vice President of Student Affairs), Dr. Alberto Rodriguez (Mexican American History professor), and Dr. Barbara Cooke (Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice).
Barrera continued on the subjective nature of the discussion, “It is important to note that this Forum aims at discussing the implications of some of the Trump administration’s policies, and any side to the argument whether agreeing or disagreeing is valid is valued. With all the confusion occurring in our nation and the world at the moment, at the very least we must be able to come to civil disagreements, and work through them, here at Texas A&M University-Kingsville.”
The topics eventually spanned to Social Security for undocumented immigrants that pay income taxes, as
well as answers to the problems in immigration. Dr. Rodriguez stated, “Deportation of Mexicans in the Rio Grande Valley is going to cost $54 million in tax revenue, $54 billion. There is an old myth that immigrants don’t pay taxes, but what happens every time they go to H.E.B. or buy groceries.”
Dr. Cooke elaborated on the allusion that a Muslim ban will protect American citizens, “Actually ISIS takes us back in history a lot, ISIS is actually a political organization whose roots go all the way back to the Ottoman empire… Its very easy to take religion and people’s passion about religion and use it to have them join the caliphate but you will find their motivations are much more political then religious.”
The night continued as described, questions being answered by the panelists before being turned over for to the audience for questions and opinions.
Clashing Values was the final work of Ebenezer “Tosin” Eloba and had to be postponed until after Spring Break when news of his death reached campus.