Texas Tribune by Julian Aguilar
The UT chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas has canceled a mock immigration sting on campus scheduled for Wednesday. YCT campus chairman Lorenzo Garcia said in a statement that organizers feared UT officials would retaliate against them.
Garcia also cited safety concerns, but conceded that the event, where students were to be rewarded with $25 gift cards for "catching" undocumented immigrants, was “over the top.” He nonetheless took issue with the backlash he received on Monday and said he hoped the controversy would stir debate on the issue of immigration.
"I have been called an 'Uncle Tom.' I have received emails and comments via social media filled with obscenity," Garcia said in the statement. "The reactions of some who claim that YCT is creating a demeaning or degrading environment on campus have been truly disgraceful."
Garcia also took a swipe at the university, saying he thought it a place where "students could express their opinions — whether or not they were popular."
The cancellation of the event came after the UT administration made the following statements:
UT President Bill Powers, in an emailed statement, called on YCT to "find more productive and respectful ways" to participate in a discussion about immigration questions on campus.
"The proposed YCT event is completely out of line with the values we espouse at The University of Texas at Auastin," he said.
Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, UT's vice president for diversity and community engagement, said the YCT members would be "willfully ignoring the honor code and contributing to the degradation of our campus culture," if they carry out their plan for the "Catch an Illegal Immigrant" event.
"The university honor code entreats students to abide by the core values of the university, one of which is freedom, but two others of which are individual opportunity and responsibility," Vincent said a prepared statement.