Opinion: When Georgia told Emory no black students, university fought. Stand now for immigrants.

It is now easier to apply to three top colleges in Georgia with a single application for Emory, Georgia Tech and UGA. (Emory Photo)

In a column today, U.S. Marine Corps veteran J. Stephen McIntyre takes on state Rep. Earl Ehrhart and all those criticizing Emory University for its stand on behalf of undocumented students.

McIntyre recalls another effort by Georgia legislators to tell Emory officials who could attend their university; Georgia leaders warned Emory 56 years ago that it would lose its tax exemption if it admitted African-American students. So Emory sued the state. And won.

I asked McIntyre for a short bio. He responded: “I have lived in Atlanta for most of my life dating back to 1965. I am a proud father, American, reader of history, and UGA football fan. I do not work for Emory and do not have children who attended Emory. I wrote this commentary because I really care about Emory as a private institution. I am also a Methodist who knows a thing or two about Emory’s commitment to Wesleyan values.”

By J. Stephen McIntyre

Throughout the past two weeks, there has been a continuous stream of threats to Emory University regarding its review of options on how to protect and support DACA students (undocumented students who have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

In interview after interview, individuals like state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, R-Powder Springs, have perpetuated allegations that Emory’s support for DACA students is somehow subverting federal laws. These views suggest that Emory is somehow trying to paint itself as a rebel university.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The requests by students, staff, faculty, and alumni — totaling more than 1,500 — did not demand Emory subvert federal immigration laws, but rather to make clear the university’s policies on compliance and collaboration with immigration authorities.

Emory, as a private university, does not have walls around its campus, nor does it allow any Tom, Dick, or Harry to enter its premises to do as they please. In their letter to Emory President Claire Sterk, petitioners asked that Emory follow the lead of sheriffs of Fulton and DeKalb counties.

Essentially, the demands were that the university remind Immigration and Customs Enforcement the university is not in the business of having its members turn against each other nor would it allow federal authorities a free hand in the day-to-day operations of the university. Rather, the demands were that Emory re-affirm its policy of inclusiveness and protection for all members of its community.

But, in recent weeks, critics who remain ignorant of the 2011 ICE directive that colleges/universities — like hospitals, funeral homes, and places of worship — remain off-limits for ICE interrogations and arrests seem steadfast on making the university an apparatus of the federal government.

When these critics launched their campaign of misinformation, they did so — almost exclusively — toward Emory. They ignored the counties in the Atlanta metropolitan area that have also opted to not willfully comply with the possibility of a federal crackdown on undocumented immigrants. They also ignored the role of the university itself, i.e., to create a space for higher learning that is free from intimidation.

Rep. Ehrhart’s latest attempt at legislator bullying is nothing new. In the past, Rep. Ehrhart has targeted LGBT student groupsan art exhibit on AIDSsurvivors of sexual assault, and racial/ethnic minorities. His threats to Emory, however, should shock any private business owner or any private citizen for that matter.

In efforts to again make the headlines, Rep. Ehrhart has sought to intervene on the matters of private institutions. He is claiming state legislators should decide which group of students should be allowed on Emory’s campus.

Sadly, we have heard this story before.

In the late 1950s, Emory University was the target of another group of state legislators who were angered by the possibility that a private university like Emory would allow African-Americans on its campus. At the time, Georgia law maintained that private institutions like Emory serve only one race.

In Emory’s case, the view from Georgia legislators was that it would serve only white students. Thus, an African-American attempting to pursue an education at Emory would thereby be in violation of state law — an “illegal” to borrow a word often used by Rep. Ehrhart. By admitting and supporting black students, Emory could thereby be held in contempt of Georgia law and could potentially lose its tax-exempt status.

But, in 1962, Emory administrators demonstrated real leadership when they filed a lawsuit against the tax commissioner of Georgia. The case, which was eventually decided in favor of Emory by the Georgia Supreme Court, marked a significant landmark in the ability of a private university to decide who they would allow on their campus.

Fifty years later, we hear the echoes of late 1950s and the early 1960s.  If history — and common sense — teach us anything, it is this: The champions of government overreach and bigotry never win. They are disregarded as more individuals come to realize that universities — not fame-seeking politicians —should decide how to conduct the affairs of their campus.

I hope that in the near future, Emory defy bullying, assert itself as a strong institution of higher learning and not serve as a pawn in a strange political game.

 

Reader Comments 0

69 comments
UltraElf
UltraElf

Emory has become KUMBAYA U. Here are the main points. #1, if you are here ILLEGALLY in any way shape or form, you are breaking the law. Same as in Mexico. Obstructing justice/harboring a fugitive is a Federal offense. Thus, Emory could be shut down. State of GA could declare eminent domain and take over Emory. Here is a good one:  an ILLEGAL alien is called an undocumented person, a bank robber is now an undocumented withdrawer. Breaking and entering a house or bank is the same as breaking and entering the USA-it is ILLEGAL. What part of ILLEGAL as in it is against the law do liberals NOT understand?  It is illegal to make a left turn on a red light. DO liberals do that anyway? Would that mean they are an UNDOCUMENTED turn signaler? And what about the people here legally?  DO they need documents on them?

SouthernHope5
SouthernHope5

Why people are against kids getting a college degree -- and then contributing in a bigger way to the U.S. -- is a mystery to me.  


Aren't there bigger problems people could be upset about? 

Starik
Starik

What's all this "respect the law" stuff.  Selective Service is a law - and we've elected three Presidents for Five terms who evaded that one.  I have a lot of respect for immigrants who go through people from Mexico and Central America who at great risk come here to contribute to this country. 

MaryElizabethSings
MaryElizabethSings

Again to raise consciousness regarding "the law," I saw the movie, "Loving" (Loving vs. State of Virginia) regarding a true story of a black and white couple by the surname of Loving, who took their right to marry as high as the U. S. Supreme Court to fight Virginia's miscegenation laws in the 1960s (and earlier). This couple won that fight for themselves and for all other mixed-race couples.  However, what this loving couple had to endure because of that unenlightened law was inhumane and consciousness was raised as a result of their case throughout the nation.


As Jefferson said, "Nothing is without change except the inalienable rights of man."


Please see the movie and open your hearts to the proper place of the law in relation to humanity's call.

Lee_CPA2
Lee_CPA2

How many ILLEGAL ALIEN students attend Emory anyway?  Does anyone know?


My guess?  You could probably count them on one hand.  This entire charade by Emory faculty and students is more "feel good" than substance.


Maybe we should borrow a chapter from the Clinton/Obama playbook and sic the IRS on them.  

class80olddog
class80olddog

People like Ms. Kiss never reap the effects of what they sow.  It is only others that suffer from the effects. 

AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared

Oh, and READING the linked directive:


"Nothing in this memorandum is intended to and may not be relied upon to create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural,  enforceable at law by any party in any administrative, civil, or

criminal matter. "



AlreadySheared
AlreadySheared

1) "2011 ICE Directive" - another executive action with no legislative basis that President Trump will likely eliminate with the stroke of a pen (like DACA).


2) Yes, absolutely, go to court to defend Emory's right to abet lawbreakers.  Let's pull this nonsense out into the open and get it over with.

Babycat
Babycat

Legal immigrants, fine.  If a student is here illegally and has made no attempt to become a citizen, then no State, Federal or other monies should be used to educate them, let alone harbor them.  If Emory chooses this path, then they are breaking the law as well.  And by the way, Emory, quit sending out mailers to the neighborhood begging for money!

class80olddog
class80olddog

@Starik @Babycat  They could go back to Mexico and apply for a student visa. It is not our fault that there are so many wanting to come here.

Starik
Starik

@Babycat  What, exactly, can a kid brought here by his or her parents, do to make an attempt to become a citizen?  Marry a US citizen. Period.  Their options are limited by our immigration laws. 


There is  "diversity lottery" for some countries, though. We apparently lack diversity.

Starik
Starik

@class80olddog @Starik @Babycat No, they're protecting, as best they can, members of the Emory community.  You do know the current immigration laws aren't good for the country. So does Emory. They aren't breaking the laws, they proposing refusing to help the Feds enforce them. 


These kids get deported to a country they don't even remember. Hard working people we deport because their parents illegally arrived; non workers (except in the criminal economy), we support at government expense.

unknown911
unknown911

Let Emory do what it wants. Don't sue them, don't make an issue of it. Just tell them they want to be private, they can exist on private funds.

MBrow
MBrow

It's a shame that lawmakers in GA choose to attempt to move the hands of time back, instead of being steadfast leaders marching towards inclusiveness.  This Sir, is not 1950 nor is it 1960; I truly hope that Emory University continues to hear the collective cry of it's students, faculty & staff. 

unknown911
unknown911

@MBrow I don't consider African American citizens to be the same as those who entered the country illegally and continue to break the laws by being here.

SixFive
SixFive

@unknown911 @MBrow  I don't either, and whether I agree or disagree with the writer's point, the parallel is offensive. Apples and Oranges.  

class80olddog
class80olddog

If Emory likes illegal immigrants so much, I think we need to establish a police cordon surrounding the Emory campus, then round up all illegal immigrants from the state of Georgia and dump them inside and let Emory take care of them. 

USMC2841
USMC2841

This does a disservice to the Civil Rights movement.  No one is saying Latinos, Europeans, Asians, Russians or Martians can't attend Emory.  It's only asked that you follow existing law.  Which other laws would Emory like ignored?  Can students forfeit on their loans because they are too onerous?  Can a student carry a firearm on campus if they fear for life or limb?  How deep does Emory's hypocrisy run?

class80olddog
class80olddog

@USMC2841  I propose that the University of Georgia declare their campus a "sanctuary" campus against the "national" 21-year-old drinking age.  In other words, students there can drink at age 18 and they will not allow their police officers to arrest them, nor will they allow outside officers to arrest them.  Of course, since the Feds say that any state that allows 18 year olds to drink will lose Federal highway funds, I guess that the State of Georgia is just SOL.  But, hey, I REALLY disagree with that stupid law.  In fact, I think it is racist (since blacks get stopped for drinking).

General Gordon
General Gordon

Those Emorhoids best get some more playdoh, crayons and participation trophies cause PRESIDENT TRUMP is gonna put an end to all this non sense!  

class80olddog
class80olddog

@General Gordon  You just committed several microagressions and sent 500 Emory students crying to their safe spaces.  You were SUPPOSED to give a trigger warning before you posted that!

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Let Emory admit any students they wish to, just cut off the flow of public money in the form of student loans, school grants and public subsidies.  If Emory wants to harbor illegals, let them at their own expence  

jezel
jezel

Racist remarks and policies generated by Trump and his administration......will continue to divide our country. And not a one of us has a duty to....comfort the bigots and racist. Somehow I sense that is expected.

Dems hate truth
Dems hate truth

@jezel pure bs and nonsense.  Must more liberal disinformation and fake news.

We are talking about criminals here.


jezel
jezel

@Dems hate truth @jezel Read up on Steve Bannon and Flynn to start with. You can find exact quotes about their views on white supremacy and how they view Muslims. If you find the info...it will mean more to you than if I tell you.

MotocrossSurvivor
MotocrossSurvivor

@jezel What racist remarks and policies are  you referring to?  Made-up stuff doesn't count.  What a strange world you live in where wishing to secure borders from illegal entry is 'racism.'  

UltraElf
UltraElf

@jezel @Dems hate truth so what is wrong with that? What do you think NAACP/SCLC is? What do you think CAIR?Nation of Islam is?  They are Black and Muslim supremacist organizations. So what is your point?

jezel
jezel

@UltraElf @jezel @Dems hate truth Are the groups you mentioned also secularist...who according to Bannon...are the greatest threat to civilization ? Is their goal to destroy American institutions and build new ones where the Christians church runs the show ? Do they believe that racist are the foot soldiers who will lead the battle to achieve these ends ?

class80olddog
class80olddog

What would make the MOST sense would be that Emory states that they do not ask students if they are legal citizens for admission - they are private and they can do that.  But are they going to line up at their "wall" and prevent ICE officers from entering their "sanctuary"? 

MotocrossSurvivor
MotocrossSurvivor

Amusing, considering Emory's student body is less than 10% black.
 Compare to the 40% black now at Georgia State.

MotocrossSurvivor
MotocrossSurvivor

@ErnestB @MotocrossSurvivor Cost is no impediment for most blacks attending colleges.  Emory is just another hilarious example of liberal hypocrisy.  They keep the black enrollment to under 10% still.

class80olddog
class80olddog

BTW - my wife and I just made a trip to New York City and visited Ellis Island while we were there.  It was an interesting look into the Immigration procedures they used back then - there were a number of people who failed the tests they set and they were put back on the boats they came in and sent back home.  All we are asking is that immigration be handled is a reasonable and legal way and the existing laws be enforced.  Unfortunately, we have allowed the laws to be broken for way too long and it creates problems NOW when we decide to really get serious. 

Pelosied
Pelosied

Extraterritoriality for the snowflakes over at Emory?

Enforcing our immigration laws is about things like protecting Americans, American jobs and taxpayer funded institutions. Please stop insisting everything's somehow about race.

For the average voter that got annoying long ago, as Hillary Clinton discovered on Election Day.

Ralph-43
Ralph-43

The reactionaries spend their lives attempting to recreate a past that did not really exist because they believe they will personally be more successful in that past arrangement.  The human race is steadily evolving. The 'World is Flat' to quote Thomas Friedman and those who are most successful in 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' will be those who learn to work in this evolving environment.  Don't embarrass the South again by lining up with the bigots, the frightened, the failures, and the uneducated.  (Lead the Way Emory.)

Pelosied
Pelosied

Gee, Ralphie ... notice how your side lost the White House, the Senate, the House and 34 of the 50 governorships in November with that message?

class80olddog
class80olddog

I would guess that the 2011 ICE Directive referred to in the article is not long for this world.  January 21st, maybe.

class80olddog
class80olddog

I am waiting to see if Maureen writes a column about Decatur schools, their "gang" problems, and the "ghetto rats" controversy.  Some on here are quick to cry racism - is it racism when a black person refers to another black person by an uncomfortable name?

class80olddog
class80olddog

These two situations are entirely different (not allowing blacks vs. protection of illegal immigrants).  In the first case, Emory did exactly the right thing - they saw the law as a bad law and took it to court and it was settled in their favor.  If it comes to that with their illegals, they could take the Feds to court and sue to overturn the entirety of immigration law.  Good luck with that.  As of right now, there have been no changes.  Heck, Donald Trump is not even President yet!  Why borrow trouble. His latest statements indicate that Emory's illegals would probably be the last ones in his sights.  However, you could make the argument that Emory's president has just put them in the crosshairs of those who oppose illegal immigration.  Like rats in the walls, as long as they are never seen, there is no problem, but once someone knows they are there, the exterminators are sent for.  This is not a case of discrimination; no one is saying Emory cannot have any students who are Latino or of Mexican descent - we are fine with anyone who is in the country legally, including student visas.  But Emory has gone over the line and said they will protect people who have broken the law, just because it is a law they disagree with.  What if they think a certain person who committed murder was convicted under circumstances they did not agree with - are they going to refuse to allow police from outside to arrest that person on campus?  Our rule of law requires us to comply with laws we don't agree with - heck, otherwise, no one would ever pay income taxes again.  We do it grudgingly, but if we truly don't like the laws we fight to get them changed.  Anyone remember the 55-mph "national" speed limit?  I would have liked to see an Emory person arguing with the State Patrol that they did not have to follow that speed limit because they disagreed with it. 

oydave
oydave

Hurling charges of racism is all you have when you don't have a good argument.

oydave
oydave

Nor are they allowed to make their own...just like the sherrif in Arizona.

RationalThoughts67
RationalThoughts67

@oydave Emory is a private university.  They are not an arm of the state of Georgia or the federal government.  It is not their responsibility to enforce this nation's (or state's) emigration laws.


How is that for a good argument?