Before even stepping on campus, the new university president could face a difficult decision. Elon University's SGA has been discussing the possibility of declaring the university as a sanctuary campus, a policy that Student Body President Kyle Porrosays will probably come down to the next university president.
Being a sanctuary campus means the school would adopt policies to limit the release of information about undocumented students to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, commonly referred to as ICE.
According to SGA Senator Carlos Andino, becoming a sanctuary campus would mean that "every undocumented student or ... some kind of employee ... would be protected from ICE agents without warrants."
What Andino is worried about are the possible drawbacks such as Elon losing federal funding for scholarships and financial aid, losing its Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) certification, or alienating itself from the Alamance County community, which concerns Andino as the county "went red" in the recent Presidential election, and has a Republican Representative in the North Carolina Legislature..
The SEVP certification gives American universities the ability to admit international students. Andino believes this could be in jeopardy should the university withhold information from ICE agents about undocumented students as it would be seen as a violation of the legislation.
Even with these risks, SGA Vice President and senior Mark McGann says this is important for the Elon community.
"If students stop coming here to go to school from wherever they find themselves coming from, that really hinders what Elon is trying to grow as, and so that would be very disappointing," McGann said.
But Porro says there is still a lot of work left to be done.
"If we get 85% of people saying, 'I'm on the fence, I'm not sure if I want to do this', well then maybe we shouldn't do it," he said.
But in order to get this plan into motion, McGann says that SGA needs the students' help to put forward legislation.
"We need our students to speak up and voice their opinions so that we can start stomping," McGann said. "We're not just going to stomp on our own."