‘Catch Immigrant’ Game Raises an Outcry at PSU

Bill Schackner, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 14, 2006

The College Republicans at Penn State University wanted to enter the debate about the nation’s borders by playing a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Game.”

People would be invited to “catch” group members wearing orange shirts symbolizing illegal aliens.

Amid the student outcry that ensued, they softened their plan to an illegal immigration awareness day in which leafleting and speech-making would let both sides air their views on immigration policies.

But that hasn’t entirely erased the bad feeling over the campus event, now planned for Wednesday.

Yesterday, about 150 students and some faculty opposed to the idea rallied in the student union building. And the university itself joined the fray, urging the College Republicans to “re-think their approach as a step toward fostering civility on campus.”

Penn State President Graham Spanier labeled the original idea “unproductive and offensive.”

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Similar events staged by conservative students on other campuses, including the University of North Texas, have stirred emotions. And that was true at Penn State yesterday as protesters like alumnus Michael Benitez called the event unfit for his alma mater:

“If we’re supposed to be a place that promotes diversity and social intelligence, why is this happening?”

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