University of Texas Group Cancels ‘Catch an Illegal Immigrant Game’

CBS Houston, November 19, 2013

A conservative student group has canceled a planned “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Game” at the University of Texas at Austin.

The game initially drew condemnation from Democrats and a threat of expulsion from campus officials.

The Young Conservatives of Texas planned the game for Wednesday. Club members would have wandered the campus wearing signs that say “illegal immigrant,” and students who captured them and took them to the Young Conservatives’ recruiting table would have gotten $25 gift certificates.

In a statement, the group’s spokesman, Lorenzo Garcia, said that they were concerned for the group’s volunteers following the uproar over the event.

“After the University President and the Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement released statements denouncing the event we planned as violating the university’s honor code, I spoke with our chapter’s members, and they are both concerned that the university will retaliate against them and that the protest against the event could create a safety issue for our volunteers,” Garcia said in a statement.

Garcia said he was wrong to use $25 gift cards for the planned game.

“I acknowledge that the decision to include issuing $25 gift cards during the event was misguided and that the idea for the event was intentionally over-the-top in order to get attention for the subject,” Garcia stated.

The Texas Democratic Party originally condemned the game and pointed out that Garcia recently was a paid staffer with Republican Greg Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign. {snip}

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Abbott’s Press Secretary, Avdiel Huerta, said the “campaign has no affiliation with this repugnant effort.”

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Garcia said he was shocked by the uproar.

“I have been shocked at the uproar over the event’s premise and at the personal attacks against me. Today, opponents of YCT have claimed that I am being used as a front man. I have been called an “Uncle Tom.” I have received emails and comments via social media filled with obscenity,” Garcia said. “The reactions of some who claim that YCT is creating a demeaning or degrading environment on campus have been truly disgraceful.”

Gregory Vincent, the university’s vice president for diversity, warned that students would would have particiated in the game would have been exercising their freedom of speech “to the detriment of others.”

“The YCT is contributing to an environment of exclusion and disrespect among our students, faculty and staff by sending the message that certain students do not belong on our campus,” Vincent said in a statement. “If the members of YCT carry out their plan . . . they are willfully ignoring the honor code and contributing to the degradation of our campus culture.”

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Students faced expulsion if they violated the honor code.

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