It is trendier than ever to shun federal authority, so imagine the possibilities. Here’s some fashionably fake news to make the point:

“Faculty at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs submitted a petition calling for the school to free itself of the cumbersome Americans with Disabilities Act. The petition asks university administrators to disavow ADA standards and deny federal employees access to inspect elevators and wheelchair ramps.”

Or this:

“Faculty submitted a petition shunning the Civil Rights Act of 1964, claiming it violates freedom of association and free speech. ‘It’s the federal government’s law and the federal government’s problem, and we don’t want federal agents on campus,’ the petition states. The petition tells campus officials to pledge they will not enforce civil rights laws.”

That’s the fake news. Here’s the real news.

Faculty submitted a petition asking to establish UCCS as a “sanctuary campus” for immigrants in the country illegally. It calls for administration to denounce hate speech. That’s a great thing. All loving people hate hateful speech.

It asks the administration to provide free legal services for students in the country illegally.

The rest of the petition goes off the rails. It demands administration and campus police flaunt federal law. It doesn’t just suggest nonenforcement of law, or looking the other way when confronted with flagrant violations. It goes much further than that.

The petition tells administrators to deny U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers access to the campus without warrants. They don’t need warrants to access public space.

The petition asks for a pledge that assures campus security will not cooperate with federal agents by assisting in enforcement activities. It tells administration to deny Immigration and Customs requests for student information regarding immigration status.

It is an open call to selectively disavow federal law and interfere with its enforcement.

We understand and respect the sentiment of the petition. Faculty do not want to be in the immigration business. It’s not their job. The responsibility of professors and instructors is to teach, not investigate and judge. Faculty members who concern themselves with immigration status might just as well try to determine if students have paid their federal taxes on time. Ridiculous.

No one has asked UCCS faculty to enforce immigration. By petitioning their demands, and advocating barriers to federal employees, faculty have interjected themselves into immigration policy.

No one wants colleges and universities in the immigration business, but taxpayers expect them to obey and respect the law. That means allowing federal officials to do their jobs and access records they are legally entitled to inspect. It means allowing federal authorities onto public campuses that are funded by federal grants and federally guaranteed student loans.

Laws are not always virtuous, which is why we have a civilized process for changing them.

UCCS faculty should focus more on excellence in education and less on self-aggrandizing activism. Stop advocating the open defiance of law and order in pursuit of shocking headlines.


(c)2016 The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.)

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