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The Daily Tar Heel

Faculty Executive Committee discusses immigration and Franklin Street bonfires

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated a statement from Provost Jim Dean. Dean said the Trump administration's policy on immigration could change, not the University's. The story has been updated to reflect this. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes for the error.

The Faculty Executive Committee met with Provost Jim Dean to discuss immigration and other issues facing the University on Monday afternoon.

What happened?

Dean said for now, President Donald Trump has agreed to protect undocumented students who qualified for protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals from deportation. But the Trump administration's policy on immigration could change.

“We’re not out of the woods by any stretch of the imagination on immigration,” he said. 

Dean said UNC’s Chief International Officer Ron Strauss attended a meeting last week in Washington D.C., and Strauss learned that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which protects students' educational records, supersedes an executive order. 

He said he wants all University employees to be prepared to be questioned by U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officers, something he said Strauss heard happened at another university at the meeting. 

Dean said if questioned, University employees should say “I can’t give you any information, but I’ll call the University attorney.”

Dean brought the committee’s attention to a proposal that would prohibit public universities and institutions from providing legal services. The measure was introduced by Board of Governors member Joe Knott on Friday. 

According to an article by the Durham Herald-Sun, the measure would affect several of UNC’s institutions, including the Center for Civil Rights, which has provided legal support in cases involving school desegregation, voting rights and compensation for victims of North Carolina’s forced sterilization programs.

Who spoke?

Dean said if Trump’s executive order that banned entry to the United States from seven countries in the Middle East is permitted to take effect again, all UNC workers and students from those countries that the University is aware of would not be immediately affected because they are all in the country.

Faculty chairperson Bruce Cairns brought up concerns over the bonfires on Franklin Street that occur when UNC beats Duke University in men's basketball.

Cairns said he is concerned that if UNC wins the Duke men’s basketball game Saturday, there will be fires on Franklin Street.

He mentioned a photograph The Daily Tar Heel published about 10 years ago of someone holding a burning object.

“There’s this ongoing glorification of fire, and every time I see that picture, I think about the kids, the folks who get burned,” he said. “And every time I think about that I think about the catastrophic event that could happen — to an elderly person or to a child.”

He said if people shot off guns after winning a game, people would not condone it.

“But these fires can be just as dangerous,” he said.

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